Wärtsilä-run research consortium given $1.3m (1m euro) EU grant to develop new renewable fuels technology for marine vessels
The European Union has chosen a research consortium coordinated by
Wärtsilä to receive a the grant to develop the use of
methanol-consuming fuel cells to provide electrical power to marine
vessels. The project is entitled "Validation of a Renewable Methanol
Based Auxiliary Power System for Commercial Vessels
" (METHAPU). The
entire project costs EUR 1.9 million.
The main purpose of the project is to develop and validate renewable-
fuel-based technology on board a cargo vessel involved in international
trade. Wärtsilä's task in the project is to study the suitability of a
methanol-based fuel cell system on board the cargo vessel. A further
important aim of the project is to lay the technical groundwork to
support the introduction of the regulations necessary to allowing the
use of methanol as a marine fuel. The specific components of the
technology to be validated are methanol fuel bunkering, distribution,
storage system and a solid oxide fuel cell system that consumes
methanol. The consortium is made up of world-class players in the field
of fuel cell system integration, sustainable shipping, classification
work and environmental assessment.
The consortium's research will deal with the SOFC unit of 250 kW -class
and the focus is on marine application issues, as well as the unit's
safety and reliability aspects. For marine validation purposes a smaller
20 kW unit will be installed on board a Wallenius Marine carcarrier. The
20 kW unit will be factory-tested, laboratory-tested and approved before
installation. The installation, likewise, will be approved before the
unit and its carrying vessel begin to sail on world trade routes
lifecycle assessment and an operational safety assessment will be made.
The results of the validation run and the tests will contribute to the
second and final part of the research - the marine-compatibility of the
250 kW unit, its safety and reliability.
The project will take two and a half years, one year
of which is
dedicated to the application's validation. The regulations and technical
requirements for using methanol as a marine fuel will pave the way for
the commercial use of methanol-consuming fuel cells on board commercial
vessels. This research project also serves as a springboard for future
research related to sustainable society; specifically, new greener
marine power sources and a methanol-based economy.
The consortium consists of world-class organizations including Wärtsilä
Corporation, Lloyd's Register, Wallenius Marine, the University of Genoa
and Det Norske Veritas AS.