e1 Marine leads discussion on the reality of 'Getting Hydrogen to Work'

On 29th March 2022, e1 Marine hosted an event in Amsterdam titled 'Participate in Progress: Getting Hydrogen to Work'. The event united a variety of industry stakeholders in a series of panel discussions to consider the viability of hydrogen as a sustainable alternative shipping fuel.


The event welcomed attendees from across the industry including fuel producers, class societies, naval architects and regulators to discuss the viability of hydrogen for inland waterways, shortsea and deep-sea shipping and ports.


Robert Schluter, Managing Director of e1 Marine, led the panel discussion on short-sea shipping.


“When it comes to finding a clean alternative fuel for short-sea shipping, the first questions being asked focused on sourcing and availability of the feedstock, and it was recognised that it is essential to consider the life cycle emissions of any potential new fuel. To make real progress on decarbonisation, we need to consider the carbon footprint of the fuel starting from its origin, including the manufacturing process and transportation process, right the way through to the point of use.”


Schluter highlighted that methanol can be made from renewable sources. It is already one of the world’s most widely traded chemicals and is readily available most of the top 100 ports worldwide. As it is a liquid fuel, established bunkering infrastructure for traditional marine fuels can easily be converted to support methanol.


“e1 Marine’s methanol to hydrogen generator technology converts methanol into hydrogen fuel which can overcome the challenge of supply, particularly in short sea shipping, including for ferries, passenger boats, high-speed crafts, tugs and offshore service vessels,” said Schluter.


Maite Klarup, Global Commercial Director at e1 Marine, hosted a panel discussion on achieving sustainable inland waterway shipping.


“The panel recognised that there are challenges associated with introducing alternative power sources into this sector. For example, the limited storage capacity on towboats restricts the use of pressurised or cryogenically stored gases as fuels. The panel also recognised that few dockside facilities are equipped to load such marine fuels, which severely constrains a vessel’s range and functionality.”


However, hydrogen produced by onboard reformation of methanol and water enables shipowners to stay ahead of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) future regulations, said Klarup. It also allows owners and operators to take advantage of future decarbonisation technologies as they mature.


The panel highlighted the importance of the world’s first methanol fuelled towboat, M/V Hydrogen One, a hydrogen fuel cell and battery-powered push boat designed for inland operations in the US. “This vessel will be a game-changer for the industry and will demonstrate that the decarbonisation of inland waterways is not about ‘if’, it’s about ‘when’,” said Klarup.


The price differential between technologies will no longer involve comparisons with diesel engines by 2030, predicted Klarup, but the industry needs economies of scale to get prices down.


“Shipping needs a clean image, and that’s what shipowners will be paying for.”


The event concluded with panellists agreeing that shipping faces a race against time to decarbonise with increasing external pressure driving the need for an energy transition. Since the event, e1 Marine has received Approval in Principle from Lloyd’s Register for its technology and looks forward to continuing its progress towards offering a proven viable solution for the shipping industry.


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