samsung heavy industries

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SHI to become the first shipbuilder to develop COTs powered by fuel cells

- SHI received AiP from DNV GL for its A-max tankers using fuel cells with improved efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

- "As the IMO forces shipbuilders to reduce GHG emissions by 30% since 2025, the introduction of fuel cells is inevitable," said an official of SHI.

- A competitive edge in LNG fuel cell technology which is to use hydrogen in the future has been secured, spurring the development of vessles powered by clean energy.


□ Samsung Heavy Industries has become the first shipbuilder to develop the world's first Aframax crude oil tankers (COTs) which apply fuel cells to respond to the IMO regulations strictly limiting CO2 emissions, making it one step closer to the eco-friendly vessels market.


□ On 26, SHI announced that it had acquired Approval in Principle (AiP) by DNV GL, a classification society based in Norway and Germany, for its fuel cell-powered A-max COTs.

  ※ AiP, a process to verify technological features of basic marine designs, enable shipbuilders to receive orders by officially approving their technologies and ships.


□ The newly developed fuel cell-powered COTs, which are environmentally friendly by replacing oil-based power generators with solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) using LNG as fuel, have improved energy efficiency and significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

If fuel cells are applied to an A-max COT which traditionally uses 3MW generator engines, GHG emissions decrease by more than 45%, as much as removing about 10,000 combustion powered cars from the roads worldwide.


□ Thanks to cooperation with Bloom Energy of the U.S., which commercialized SOFCs for the first time, the vessels boast high stability. Samsung Heavy developed core manufacturing process including fueling system and power control system for fuel cells on its own. It has also become the first shipbuilder to achieve AiP for COTs powered by fuel cells, which have higher volumes compared to traditional engines, by optimally deploying them without changing vessel designs.

Meanwhile, as SOFCs can use hydrogen as fuel for fuel cells in addition to LNG, it is anticipated that zero-emission hydrogen vessels will be built based on the approved technology.


□ "As regulations to reduce GHG emissions take effect step by step, the introduction of fuel cells to vessels is inevitable. This approval and being the first shipbuilder to secure this marine fuel cell technology illustrates that Samsung Heavy is highly likely to lead the market," said Kyunghee KIM, Vice President of SHI.


□ Since 2008, the IMO has forced the shipbuilding industry to set Energy Efficient Design Index (EEDI) by steps to reduce GHG emissions generated by vessels and to satisfy the corresponding targets from the time when vessels are designed.

Based upon the regulations, all the IMO-registered ships are required to decrease emissions by 10% from 2015, 20% from 2020, and more than 30% from 2025 compared to the 2008 level. Recently, it seems that the IMO has been more stringent in its regulations; there is an ongoing discussion to strengthen the targets to 40% in 2030 and 70% in 2050.


[Photo caption]

Jintaek Jung, Executive Vice President of SHI Engineering & Procurement Operations (left) and Hwa Lyong Lee, Regional Business Development Manager of DNV GL, are shaking hands after the award ceremony for AiP for COTs powered by fuel cells.



□ A fuel cell, similar to a generator transforming chemical energy generated through chemical reactions of fuel into electric energy, is different from batteries that store and use electricity.

Compared to generator-engines that produce electricity from chemical energy of fuel through explosion, fuel cells are eco-friendly and free from noises and pollutants featuring higher energy efficiency thanks to their simple energy transition process.

Among the fuel cells that have been developed to date, SOFCs that use solid oxide as electrolyte boast the highest efficiency.


Comparison of existing generator-engines with fuel cells



 Fuel cells




 Efficiency (%)





 Fuel options






※ Efficiency when using the same fuel (LNG)

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