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, includes a research and testing project for the vessel in the North Sea, with the installation of the ammonia-fuelled technology 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 and if the technology can deliver over long distances of up to 3,000 hours of annual sailing.
Other members of the project will include Wärtsilä, who will provide the power technology and systems for ammonia storage and distribution, Prototech, who will supply the fuel cell system, and NCE Maritime CleanTechwill be coordinating the project with the EU.
With the International Maritime Organizations’ 2030 and 2050 emission requirements, which will require a 40% reduction in emission and then a 50% reduction in emissions compared to 2008 levels respectively, the shipping industry is considering ammonia and hydrogen as the two main candidates for a true zero-emission future.