Wärtsilä has partnered with Finnish startup Hycamite TCD Technologies, which specialises in the development of a pioneering technology for producing clean hydrogen and solid carbon from methane. Together, they seek to develop cost-effective production of hydrogen from LNG on board ships.

The concept design will be ready by mid 2023 and the prototype testing unit will be ready during the second half of 2024.

The concept will allow existing LNG infrastructure to be utilised and enable production of hydrogen on board in combination with Wärtsilä’s LNGPac Fuel Gas Supply System. By producing hydrogen on ships and blending it with LNG, the current range of fuel flexible Wärtsilä dual-fuel (DF) engines can reduce a ship’s overall carbon dioxide and methane slip emissions. Alternatively, the hydrogen can also be used in fuel cells on board.

The technology can in principle be applied for all vessels operating with LNG fuel. When using bioLNG, this solution even enables power generation on board ships with a negative carbon footprint.

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Solid carbon

The by-product from the process is solid carbon that, unlike conventional technologies that produce carbon-dioxide (CO2) as a by-product, can more easily be stored and managed on board. The carbon produced consists of high-grade allotropes, like industrial graphite and carbon nanotubes, thereby offering a possible additional revenue stream.

‘We are investing in the development of viable future marine fuel technologies and solutions that can accelerate the efforts to decarbonise shipping operations,’ says Mathias Jansson, Director, Fuel Gas Supply Systems, Wärtsilä. ‘This collaboration with Hycamite is an important step forward towards meeting our corporate targets. Our gas engines can already operate with mixtures of hydrogen and LNG. The ability to produce the H2 on board opens up exciting new opportunities. This solution overcomes the lack of an existing hydrogen supply infrastructure. It also supports reducing the safety risks around storing and handling of liquid hydrogen and enables a gradual decrease of the vessels’ environmental impact.’

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