The concept of the tanker is based on combining LNG, the ship’s fuel, with steam, to produce hydrogen and CO₂ (Source: FKAB)

RINA issues AiP for hydrogen-powered MR tanker

Classification society RINA has granted Approval in Principle (AiP) for a hydrogen-powered medium-range (MR) tanker concept from Swedish firm FKAB Marine Design which, it is claimed, is the first such tanker design that can use currently viable technology and still exceed the IMO’s 2050 targets.

The LNG/hydrogen tanker is the result of a joint project between ABB and Metacon AB subsidiary, Helbio. The concept is based on combining LNG, the ship’s fuel, with steam, to produce hydrogen and CO2.

The process is undertaken in a Helbio gas reformer where the LNG molecules are split into hydrogen and CO2. This captured CO2 is then liquefied by the cryogenic steam from the LNG and can be used as inert gas for the vessel. Hydrogen, meanwhile, is available to power the main engine and/or the fuel cells. The AiP has been issued for hybrid operation.

RINA explained that conventional ships designed with the intention of undergoing retrofits to keep pace with tightening emission regulations and stricter carbon intensity indicator (CII) ratings may not prove suitable for upgrades as time goes on. However, this design envisages that more hydrogen will be used over time to maintain a top CII rating throughout the life of the ship, reducing CO2 emissions in parallel with stricter regulations.

FKAB head of Sales & Marketing, Andreas Hagberg, explained: “The concept is revolutionary because it does not require any port-side hydrogen infrastructure. The hydrogen is created on board the vessel and all necessary equipment can be easily fitted on deck, so shipowners can convert existing vessels. The fuel cells have been specifically developed to produce more power and fewer emissions.”

Antonios Trakakis, RINA’s Marine Technical Director in Greece, said: “Now that the concept has been brought to the real world through an immediately applicable CII ‘A’-rated design, this opens the door to reduce emissions in a much shorter timeframe. The AiP is for an MR tanker, but the technology can be applied to a wide range of vessel types and sizes.”

Article Editorial staff Ship&Offshore
Article Editorial staff Ship&Offshore