SEOUL -- A liquefied natural gas carrier with an eco-friendly solid oxide fuel cell propulsion system developed by Samsung Heavy Industries and Bloom Energy, an American public company, has won basic design approval from DNV, a maritime classification society based in Norway, for commercialization.
It would be the world's first LNG carrier operating on solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) has partnered with Bloom Energy to develop core technologies for highly efficient SOFCs for ships. SOFC is an electrochemical conversion device that produces electricity directly from oxidizing fuel and ensures high combined heat and power efficiency, long-term stability, fuel flexibility, low emissions and relatively low cost.
SHI said the LNG carrier has won "Approval in Principle." "Fuel cell propulsion ships can replace internal combustion engines with fuel cells to drastically reduce air pollutant emissions as well as noise vibration and maintenance costs," SHI's technology development center head Chung Ho-hyun said in a statement on July 1, vowing to lead the international standardization of fuel cell propulsion systems for ships.
The fuel cell-powered LNG carrier does not require internal combustion engines as well as devices that use oil, SHI said, adding the eco-friendly vessel can effectively respond to strengthened environmental regulations as it does not generate harmful substances such as sulfur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). The shipbuilder would conduct empirical tests at LNG demonstration facilities at its shipyard in Geoje before embarking on global marketing.
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