Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. and other major shipbuilders are scurrying to develop eco-friendly power systems for ships in order to clinch more deals amid toughened emission regulations.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted mandatory steps under which carriers are required to operate a fleet of vessels designed to cut emissions by more than 30 percent by 2025 compared with 2008.
The IMO is also considering further reducing the emission levels by 40 percent by 2030 and by 70 percent by 2050.
From Jan. 1, 2020, the IMO lowered the sulfur cap on fuel content from 3.5 percent to 0.5 percent.
Sulphur oxides in the atmosphere can lead to acid rain that hurts crops and forests and causes the acidification of the oceans.
Hyundai Heavy Industries and its holding company Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering Co. set up a center in March in Ulsan, 414 kilometers southeast of Seoul, to develop ships powered by both liquefied natural gas (LNG) engines and fuel cells by late 2021.
In March 2019, Hyundai Heavy got the green light for the design of a crude carrier with the LNG-fuel cell-propelled engine system from DNV-GL, a Norwegian-German quality assurance and risk management company.
The approval by DNV-GL enables Hyundai Heavy to receive an order for the ship with the system from buyers.
Hyundai Heavy also signed a deal with local fuel cell maker Mico Ltd. to develop a fuel cell system for ships in November 2019.
Hyundai Heavy’s push for eco-friendly ships was trailed in by its smaller rival Samsung Heavy Industries Co. and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co.
Samsung Heavy has signed a deal with U.S. fuel cell maker Bloom Energy that commercialized solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) for the first time in the world. SOFCs are energy conversion devices that generate electricity.
Under the deal, Samsung Heavy plans to secure core technologies of the fuel cell system for LNG carriers and shuttle tankers, a ship for oil transport from an off-shore oil field, by 2022, the shipbuilder said in an emailed statement.
Samsung Heavy’s design for fuel cell-propelled crude carriers was also approved by DNV-GL in September 2019.
Another leading shipbuilder, Daewoo Shipbuilding, has started developing a lithium-ion energy storage system, another eco-friendly energy system for ships.
In February, Daewoo Shipbuilding signed a deal with armored vehicle maker Hanwha Defense to develop the lithium-ion energy storage system that helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save fuel for ships.