e1 Marine’s Engineering Manager, Kyle Taylor, who joined the team in September 2022, explains how his background in chemical engineering and fuel cells is now being applied to maritime operations and how innovative renewable fuel technologies can tackle shipping’s decarbonization challenge.
What specifically drew you to join e1 Marine?
The shipping industry is facing a once in a lifetime challenge, so having the opportunity to apply my engineering experience to develop sustainable energy and environmental solutions was one of my main motivations for joining e1 Marine. Having a varied background of over a decade working in chemical engineering and the fuel cell industry directly aligns with e1 Marine’s business, allowing me to apply my expertise, support the company’s expansion with a fresh perspective on low-carbon innovation, and progress my professional goals.
What have been your personal highlights in your first months at e1 Marine?
A stand-out highlight has been learning and understanding the obstacles facing the global maritime industry. This includes the unique regulatory requirements and commercial drivers that are culminating in a race against time to decarbonize. Contributing to these by helping to develop renewable energy technology that is IMO 2030 compliant is particularly rewarding.
How does your role support e1 Marine in tackling key challenges for the maritime industry?
My role is focused on the technical development and testing of our solution. These projects include working on megawatt methanol to fuel cell power installations, preparing for the trial of M/V Hydrogen One which is the world’s first methanol-fuelled towboat, and developing a containerized power solution that will provide green shore-based power to ports.
What can we expect to see from e1 Marine in 2023?
2023 is already shaping up to be an exciting year for e1 Marine. By the end of this year, we expect to see M/V Hydrogen one approved by the US Coast Guard and on the water for sea trials. Additionally, we are making significant progress in inland and shoreside port infrastructure, and this year, plan to demonstrate a 20ft, 150kW methanol to power shipping container operating in a US port. Further hydrogen generator products are also in development that continue to push the limit for increasing hydrogen density and will help to optimize the weight and volume for the maritime industry.
In the shorter term, new partnerships will enable e1 Marine to progress with more hydrogen-powered, low-carbon applications and help to provide cost-effective hydrogen at scale for the wider maritime industry.
What are the biggest hurdles for the shipping industry to avoid in achieving decarbonization targets?
The limited availability of existing cost-effective, low-carbon fuel options and supporting infrastructure, is a significant hurdle for the shipping industry in reaching decarbonization targets. However, methanol could be the answer. Methanol is one of the world’s most widely traded chemicals and is readily available at more than 85 of the top 100 ports worldwide. It can be produced from a variety of renewable and low-carbon sources, and offers an economical, sustainable solution to decarbonization challenges when used as a source for hydrogen production. e1 Marine’s methanol reformer, when used in conjunction with the methanol and water blend, reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared with current conventional technology.
Additionally, safety is often raised as a key concern regarding low-carbon fuels such as hydrogen. However with safety at the core of everything e1 Marine does, the benefits of a methanol-based, hydrogen-dense, marine fuel negate the need for high-pressure hydrogen storage onboard a vessel. e1 Marine’s hydrogen emits no noxious gas, leaving a safe working environment for crew onboard.
Where do you expect to see the industry in the next five years?
The shipping industry is currently facing a period of great change as it works to reduce its environmental impact. In the next five years, I expect to see the industry using technology to unlock use of a wider variety of sustainable and low-carbon fuel options, such as hydrogen, and methanol. Alternative fuel use will increase dramatically as new technologies and initiatives make them cost-effective, and available at scale. I also expect to see a greater focus on energy efficiency, electric propulsion, fuel cells, and a growing trend of automated operations.