A new five-year R&D contract to retrofit offshore vessel Viking Energy with a carbon free ammonia fuelled 2MW solid oxide fuel cell system has been signed.
The agreement, between energy company Equinor and Eidesvik Offshore, will include the launch of a research and testing project for the vessel in the North Sea. The installation of the ammonia fuelled technology is expected to take place in 2024.
The research project has an estimated budget of USD25 million, much of which will be supplied by the European Union (EU), as part of its’ innovation project ShipFC. The project will test the scalability of ammonia as a zero-emission fuel and whether it can deliver over long distances (up to 3,000 hours of annual sailing).
“Generally, for this vessel types we already handle several special products as cargo and also both Gas Oil and LNG as fuel. We have a zero tolerance approach for leaks of such, both with regards to personnel exposure and emission to environment. The same will be the case also for the recently started Ammonia based project.” Said Vermund Hjelland, vice president of technology and development, Eidesvik to SAS.
Hjelland, speaking directly to SAS, also stated that as they are at the beginning of the project no specific risk assessments have been carried out yet, however, he assured that all risk aspects shall be covered such as fire, explosion, and intoxication issues.
Other members of the project include Wärtsilä, who will provide the power technology and systems for ammonia storage and distribution, Prototech, will supply the fuel cell system, and NCE Maritime CleanTech, will be coordinating the project towards the EU.
With the International Maritime Organizations’ 2030 and 2050 emission requirements (expecting a 40% reduction in emission and then a 50% reduction in emissions compared to 2008 levels respectively), the shipping industry are considering ammonia and hydrogen as the two main candidates for a zero-emission future.