The new €17 million European GAMMA project aims to make ocean transport and trade more environmentally friendly. Companies and researchers from Europe will collaborate to develop and convert a bulk carrier to operate on climate-neutral fuels and green power, reducing its impact on the environment.
ccording to RINA, the bulk carrier from TOPIC Fleet, which is used as a case study in the new EU project GAMMA, can carry 60,000 tonnes of dead weight cargo across the world’s oceans. Ocean freight transport requires large amounts of fuel, mainly made up of fossil fuels today. With the GAMMA innovation project, which began in January 2024, a wide range of partners are now working to change that.
We will retrofit a bulk carrier with highly innovative technologies and during a demonstration campaign we will prove that it is possible to replace auxiliary generators with a new fuel system that runs on e-fuels.
… explained Kjartan Due Nielsen, Innovation Manager at Icelandic engineering company Verkís, which is leading the GAMMA
About the GAMMA project
The Gamma project began in January 2024 and will run for five years. The innovation project has received €13 million in support from the European Commission’s Horizon Europe framework programme for innovation. The total budget is €17 million, and the complex application process was led by Inspiralia.
Gamma stands for Green Ammonia and Biomethanol fuel MAritime Vessels and involves 16 partners from Europe:
Verkís (Iceland), ANT Topic (Italy), Fraunhofer (Germany), Aurelia (Netherlands), Ballard (Denmark), Sea Green Engineering (Italy), Energy Cluster Denmark (Denmark), SINTEF (Norway), Solbian (Italy), Amethyste (France), Elkon Elektrik (Turkey), Politecnico di Milano (Italy), ARM Engineering (France), RINA (Italy), Amnis Pura (Portugal) and Dotcom (Italy).
Electricity from hydrogen and green fuels
Furthermore, an innovative fuel system will be installed. Ammonia and green methanol will be bunkered on-to the ship and then converted into hydrogen with cracker and reformer technologies. The hydrogen will be purified and then converted into electricity with a fuel cell, which will be providing electric energy to the vessel and thus replacing the use of the auxiliary generators running on fossil fuel.
In addition to that, the partners have gone further, since part of the energy necessary to convert to hydrogen will be supplied by renewable energy, in this case PV panels, which will be installed on the hatch covers of the bulk carrier.
Fraunhofer Institute provides the conversion technology, Amnis Pura the purifying and the fuel cell is provided by Ballard Power Systems Europe, meanwhile PV panels will be provided by Italian company Solbian.