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. A
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.