RINA Approves Design of Hydrogen-Powered MR Tanker

RINA has announced the approval in principle (AiP) of FKAB Marine Design’s hydrogen-powered medium-range (MR) tanker, the first AiP of a design using currently viable technology and fuels that achieve the International Maritime Organization’s 2050 emissions targets.

Conceived by the class society and designed by FKAB, the propulsion is based on combining the ship’s fuel (LNG) with steam to produce hydrogen and CO2 .

The MR LNG/hydrogen-fueled vessel is the result of a joint project with ABB and Helbio (a subsidiary of Metacon AB). The MR tanker design is based on combining LNG with steam in a Helbio gas reformer to split LNG molecules into hydrogen and CO2 . Hydrogen is then directly used to fuel the internal combustion engines and fuel cells in a hybrid marine power system by ABB. The CO2 is captured by splitting the LNG molecules, rather than from exhaust gas.

Any solution that aims to reduce a ship’s CO2 emissions should ensure a competitive Carbon Intensity Index (CII) rating, which has increasingly stringent rating thresholds toward 2030, throughout the whole service life of the vessel, not only when getting closer to 2050. This may prove to be a substantial limitation for conventional ships built with the intention of being retrofitted after 10 to 15 years from delivery.

Using this design, hydrogen usage can be progressively increased to maintain a top CII rating throughout the life of the ship, reducing CO2 emissions in a parallel slope with the applicable regulations. The ship can meet full decarbonization targets by running the engine on 100 percent hydrogen or producing all the power needed by fuel cells. In this way, the owner can decide the rate of CO2 reduction.

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