Solid Oxide Fuel Cells for Reduced Health and Climate Impact of Ship Emissions

Adam Kristensson, from the Department of Physics specializing in Environmental engineering and Climate research at Lund University (ULUND), will present a NAUTILUS-related poster at the Joint TAP and SE Conference, scheduled for September 25 to September 27, 2023, in Gothenburg, Sweden.

You can reach him on September 27, 2023, at the Wallenberg Conference Center, where he will be presenting the poster titled 'Solid Oxide Fuel Cells for Reduced Health and Climate Impact of Ship Emissions' (PS.2.22) at 15:40 CET.

Air pollution from the shipping sector is responsible for a substantial health impact and an increasing number of annual premature deaths from cardiopulmonary disease and lung cancer in coastal areas of Europe and worldwide. Shipping also emits several other climate-warming pollutants, such as Methane and Black Carbon. The project reflects  the greenhouse gas (GHG) strategy set by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in 2018 which aimed to cut the shipping sector’s carbon intensity by up to 40% by 2030 and 70% by 2050 compared to the benchmark of 2008. The recently revised Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ship adopted in July 2023 enhanced original targets. The revised Strategy includes an enhanced common ambition to reach net-zero GHG emissions from international shipping close to 2050, a commitment to ensure an uptake of alternative zero and near-zero GHG fuels by 2030, as well as indicative check-points for international shipping to reach net-zero GHG emissions for 2030 (by at least 20%, striving for 30%) and 2040 (by at least 70%, striving for 80%). 

The NAUTILUS project examines the marine application of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), operating in hybrid mode with batteries as future clean propulsion technology for passenger shipping. This novel technology has the ambition to gradually replace existing Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) generators. In the short term, the NAUTILUS project aims to reach IMO emission reduction targets for 2030, including a 10% increase in energy efficiency and a 40% CO2 reduction, as well as reducing Nitrogen Dioxides (NOx), PM (Particulate Matter), and Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) by > 99% compared to the emission baseline of 2008 while using Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO). Due to their high operating temperature, SOFCs offer greater fuel flexibility compared to other fuel cell technologies. The NAUTILUS project has ambition to evaluate Gensets’ compliance and performance with preselected alternative fuels. The assumption is that this second step will enable even greater emission reduction beyond the IMO 2050 targets.

The poster will present the progress made under the NAUTILUS project in the emission analysis task, such as the literature review of ship emissions based on ambient, on-board, and laboratory investigations, and the toxicity of transport emissions, including shipping. A measurement strategy is currently being designed by the project team and tested to allow detailed emission measurements of the SOFC-post-combustor system. Direct emission measurements (of PM2.5, NOx, Black Carbon, SO2, and select emerging pollutants) will be carried out later in 2024 at a demonstrator unit (60 kWe) that will be constructed in the NAUTILUS project. This combined approach will allow quantification of the emission reduction potential of the new technology for the key pollutants. Finally, a health impact assessment will be carried out for different scenarios of the implementation of the new technology.

Future health impact assessment analysis will focus on the port cities of Trelleborg and Hamburg urban areas. Furthermore, different assumptions regarding the concentration-response curve will be investigated. The aim is to explore the health benefits of different scenarios for the introduction of the novel SOFC technology. The reduction of exposure will be based on the direct emission measurements at the demonstrator.

The NAUTILUS project, through its innovative approach, represents a new era of cleaner and more sustainable passenger shipping, thereby contributing significantly to the global goal of reducing air pollution and curbing climate change. If you want to learn more, stay in touch with us:

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 861647.

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NAUTILUS is a short for Nautical Integrated Hybrid Energy System for Long-haul Cruise Ships.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 861647.