Samsung Heavy and Bloom Energy to develop fuel cell-powered ships

South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) and California-based provider of stationary fuel cells Bloom Energy have unveiled a collaboration to design and develop ships powered by the latter’s solid oxide fuel cell technology.

SHI aims to be the first shipbuilder to deliver a large cargo ship for ocean operation powered by fuel cells running on natural gas. Such an innovation will play a key role in helping the company exceed the 50 percent emissions reduction target, compared to 2008 levels, that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has mandated all shipbuilders should achieve by 2050. The IMO, an arm of the United Nations, is the global standard-setting agency for the safety, security, and environmental performance of international shipping.

The two companies have already taken an important first step towards commercializing the maritime use of fuel cells for propulsion and auxiliary power. At a ceremony in the SHI Geoje shipyard, Samsung Heavy Industries announced they have received Approval in Principle from DNV GL, the internationally accredited marine shipping registrar and classification society, in collaboration with Bloom Energy to proceed with a fuel cell-powered ship design for Aframax crude oil tankers (COTs).

«As regulations to reduce GHG emissions take effect step-by-step, the introduction of fuel cells to vessels is inevitable. This approval, and being the first shipbuilder to secure this marine fuel cell technology, illustrates that Samsung Heavy is highly likely to lead the market,» said Kyunghee Kim, vice president of SHI Outfitting Engineering Team.

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