The ShipFC project was granted funding from EU’s Research and Innovation program Horizon 2020 under its Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), to secure a place for ammonia in the future of deep-sea shipping.
The project will equip the offshore supply vessel Viking Energy, owned and operated by Eidesvik and on contract to energy major Equinor, with a 2MW ammonia fuel cell, enabling it to operate for at least 3000 hours annually on clean fuel.
After the completion of that phase, the project will ramp up to qualifying 20MW fuel cell solutions for oceangoing vessels.
Commenting on the project, Dr Michail Cheliotis, Research Associate at the University of Strathclyde, lead partner in the project, stated:
The ultimate goal of the project is to demonstrate the feasibility of ammonia fuel cells for ocean going vessels and long sea voyages. Once the first phase of the project is completed, that’s when the fun starts
The project will consider three replicator vessel types, including a bulk vessel, an offshore construction vessel, and a container ship. Mr. Cheliotis added that the work will involve close cooperation with replicator vessel owners and a thorough examination of vessel requirements.
ShipFC will closely examine the ammonia supply chain, as it will be looking at the entire life cycle of ammonia, from production to transport and bunkering.
Strathclyde will also provide maritime safety analysis for onboard solutions. Part of the work will be to propose new safeguards and accommodations for marine installations of this size.
As for ammonia for fuel cells, it can be produced with a green profile, according to Mr. Cheliotis, giving ammonia a positive overall environmental footprint:
Ammonia can easily be made from renewable resources, making it one of the fuels that will likely meet part of shipping’s future green energy demand