In April 2022, e1 Marine received Approval in Principle for its M-series methanol-to-hydrogen generator. The fuel cell technology, which will be applied to MV Hydrogen One, the world’s first methanol-fueled tow boat, is expected to act as a springboard for enabling the demonstration of the generator across different maritime sectors, from ports and towboats to offshore and deep-sea vessels. ship.energy speaks with e1 Marine’s Managing Director, Robert Schluter, to find out more.
Schluter highlights the main challenges for the widespread adoption of fuel cells from the qualities of hydrogen as a low carbon fuel to the cost of storage.
‘It’s inexpensive to make at the point of the generation of the hydrogen – it might be $1.50 per kilogram,’ says Schluter. ‘If you’re a large organization such as Maersk, you’re probably buying that hydrogen at $8-$10 a kilogram. But for a typical end-user it’s going to be more than that – in that $12-$16 [range]. And if you talk about us as individuals driving a hydrogen-fueled car, you might be paying $16-$20 a kilogram.’
Schluter continues: ‘So, the cost of that hydrogen is quite high whereas when you convert methanol and water with the generator into hydrogen at the point of use, we can do it for about $4 a kilogram.’
As this cost incentive becomes clearer, there has been a change in the industry’s perception of the technology. Previously, initial interest would amount to small-scale demonstration projects to validate the technology in the marine space, however, this has now been replaced with larger operators committing to building a first vessel in a series. e1 Marine is now working with the largest naval architecture firms to design the best solutions.
Read the full interview here.