Following the appointment of David Lim to the role of Vice President of Application Engineering in May 2022, David shares his expertise across engineering and renewable energy and highlights how the development of analytical tools will support e1 Marine’s marine fuel cell generator product development.
How will your experience and role at e1 Marine move the business forward?
The work we are doing at e1 Marine and my previous work in the telecom sector bear many similarities. In both cases, we are substituting the legacy diesel engine technology with methanol-to-hydrogen technology. My experience enables me to accurately illustrate that this new technology is safe, regulated, and economical, while also effectively reducing carbon emissions.
During my time in the telecom industry, I worked with system integrators to develop products, and work with mid to end-level customers. While we must take a similar approach in the marine sector, the power requirement is much larger, therefore presenting a significant demand for the material involved, and quickly driving down the capital cost at production.
From your perspective, how is e1 Marine solving key industry issues?
Hydrogen-based power technology will present a decarbonisation revolution across industries, and we will see significant impact on the maritime sector in particular. However, one of the biggest challenges facing hydrogen use in power systems is availability – that’s where e1 Marine comes in. Our methanol-to-hydrogen generator technology provides the missing link in the value chain by offering an economical and practical approach to on-site hydrogen generation across the shipping industry, from ports to seagoing vessels.
Since methanol is one of the most traded commodity chemicals available in most ports, it holds the potential to advance shipping’s journey to net-zero through use of e1 Marine’s technology. As a liquid fuel, established bunkering infrastructure for traditional marine fuels can easily be converted to use methanol and it has cost advantages – even in comparison with contemporary diesel generators, or before considering any new regulation or carbon tax.
What have been your personal highlights in your first six months at e1 Marine?
Receiving Approval in Principle from Lloyd’s Register for our methanol-to-hydrogen generator technology was a promising demonstration of support from the industry, and has since established the technology as a tangible solution to reduce emissions in the shipping sector. It also supports our piloting program, so that we can demonstrate how our solution can contribute to reducing shipping’s carbon emissions.
e1 Marine solutions
What challenges can fuel cell technology help to solve, particularly in maritime?
Hydrogen fuel cell technology has the capacity to decarbonize the shipping industry by providing clean, efficient power while serving long hours over long distances for a broad range of applications. However, hydrogen infrastructure is yet to be ready, presenting issues such as cost, transport, safety, and regulation.
By using methanol as a hydrogen carrier, you can mitigate these challenges, and as a result, encourage further demand for the adoption of renewable fuels and clean technology.
What can we expect to see from e1 Marine in 2023?
In 2023, we will be launching our containerized solution for port application, and we expect to see further progress in maritime certification with Lloyd’s Register and similar organizations.
In addition, M/V Hydrogen One, the world’s first methanol-fueled towboat, developed by Maritime Partners in cooperation with Elliott Bay Design Group, e1 Marine and ABB, will be launching in late 2023 and we look forward to seeing the vessel on the water and our technology in action.
Shipping industry trends
What are the biggest trends you are seeing in Asia in terms of trying to achieve decarbonization in maritime?
Singapore is shaping up to be a frontrunner in the adoption of decarbonization technologies for ports and vessels in Asia. However, other Asian countries are close behind; South Korea is leading in the production of methanol-powered vessels with a recent 12-vessel order from Maersk, China is following with a recent order from CMA-CGM, while Japan is also actively exploring methanol solutions.
The shipping industry is in a period of huge change. Where do you expect to see the industry in the next five years?
With the industry anxious to decarbonize, I expect to see significant adoption of clean energy technologies, such as methanol technology in port side applications such as cold ironing, reefers, and battery charging for EV and electrified ships, and methanol-powered ships in various applications, whether based on electrification or combustion technology, and from seagoing to inland waterways, globally.