Yachts pioneer use of future power technology

Malcolm Latarche
Malcolm Latarche
ShipInsight

02 October 2018


Two pioneering project partnerships were announced by LR at last week’s Monaco Yacht Show. Although initially aimed at yachts, the projects could have application in all areas of shipping as the industry seeks a decarbonised future.

The first project involves Germany-based H2-Industries which is working with LR on developing standards for all-electric vessels powered by emission-free Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier (LOHC) technology. The project is seeking to obtain Approval in Principle for the use of LOHC technology on ships. This covers the refuelling of ships with LOHC, the storage of the energy carrier on board as well as the process of power generation onboard of the vessel.

The LOHC technology is based on liquid organic hydrogen carriers, an organic oil-like substance that binds hydrogen chemically. Various substances would be suitable for this; H2-Industries uses dibenzyltoluene, whose physicochemical properties are very similar to diesel. The chemical storage of hydrogen in the LOHC makes it possible to store it under ambient pressure (p = 1 bar) and at a normal temperature (T = 20 °C). Another advantage is that the stored hydrogen is not volatile and, therefore, it cannot self-discharge. The LOHC can be charged and discharged with hydrogen as often as needed.

One litre of LOHC stores one kilowatt hour of electricity and one kilowatt hour of thermal energy in the form of hydrogen. Reconversion via a fuel cell makes the electrical energy available once again. The new LOHC energy storage technology has allowed full-electric drive to be used for all types of vessels and could revolutionise the shipping industry. LOHC technology allows hydrogen to be stored chemically bound and electrical energy to be released on demand. The charged LOHC+ is efficient, non-explosive and has low flammability.

LOHC technology from H2-Industries enables the safe storage of hydrogen as well as the safe and efficient operation of fuel cells onboard. It converts the hydrogen released from the LOHC into electricity, which is then used on the vessel for propulsion and onboard power. Thanks to the LOHC system, the ship can now be powered by a silent and vibration free electric motor. This will make emission-free navigation possible, with complete elimination of CO2 and NOx emissions as well as particulate matter and soot.

In addition, H2-Industries’ LOHC technology is also compatible with existing infrastructure. The oily substance can be stored and transported in exactly the same way that diesel is transported. Time consuming charging processes as would be required when using batteries are also eliminated. With the LOHC system, energy can not only be fuelled in the same way as diesel, but the substance can also be charged with hydrogen as often as required.

"The collaboration between Lloyd's Register and H2-Industries marks a milestone in the development of emission-free shipping," said Michael Stusch, founder and CEO of H2-Industries SE.

The second project saw Italy-based Viareggio Super Yachts (VSY) sign an agreement with Siemens and LR to develop a project for the application of hydrogen fuel cells technology on a special version of the new luxury design VSY 65m WATERECHO project by Espen Øino.

The main purpose of the project is to assess the specific safety and technical requirements for feeding the stern electric engine (used for manoeuvring or as auxiliary propulsor – standard in all VSY yachts) in a completely sustainable mode. Under the agreement, VSY will carry out the technical and commercial feasibility of the employment of hydrogen fuel cells and their installation onboard. Siemens will provide their know-how, the technical solutions already developed or to be developed, and LR will carry out a preliminary assessment for certification purposes