Apr 19, 2021

Denmark marine group explores methanol fuel cell scalability

fuelcells
Denmark
HTPEM
Dominic Ellis
3 min
Denmark marine project will analyse if methanol fuel cell systems can drastically reduce maritime climate and environmental impact
Denmark marine project will analyse if methanol fuel cell systems can drastically reduce maritime climate and environmental impact...

Fuel cell maker Blue World Technologies, Alfa Laval and vessel owners DFDS, Maersk Drilling and Hafnia are developing fuel cells based on High-Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane (HTPEM) technology to assess their potential as a source of marine auxiliary power.

Funded by the Danish Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program, testing will be held at the Alfa Laval Test & Training Centre in Aalborg. 

The aim of the project is to establish a highly efficient and cost-effective HTPEM fuel cell solution, giving marine vessels a realistic alternative to combustion-based auxiliary power in future. 

The fuel cell test setup will have a power of 200kW, but the fully developed and modular design should be possible to scale up incrementally to a level of 5 MW.

HTPEM fuel cells have a higher tolerance for thermal cycling than other fuel cell types and will provide clean operation with no particulate emissions, will use carbon-neutral renewable methanol as fuel. 

Methanol is one of the most promising fossil-free fuels available for future shipping and is already being used in testing at the Alfa Laval Test & Training Centre. The fuel cell system concept, however, could be possible to adapt for fuels such as LNG and ammonia.

Lars Skytte Jørgensen, Head of Technology Development, Energy Solutions, Alfa Laval Marine Division, said: "Building on the scalability of automotive applications, we are convinced that methanol fuel cell systems can drastically reduce maritime climate and environmental impact. By further developing our technology in partnership with marine colleagues, and by ramping up our production capacity at the same time, we can deliver a fuel cell solution that is green, operationally sound and also commercially viable."

The three vessel owners will contribute insights regarding the operational and commercial implementation of the HTPEM fuel cell system. 

  • DFDS, owner of one of Europe’s largest shipping networks, is actively moving away from fossil fuels and brings experience from other fuel cell projects. 
  • Maersk Drilling, a Danish owner and operator of drilling rigs, has a strong focus on energy efficiency and brings experience of using auxiliary power for special applications. 
  • Hafnia, owner of one of the world’s largest product tanker fleets, has a strategy of transitioning to viable future marine fuels and believes strongly in methanol. Hafnia brings deep knowledge of methanol bunkering and operations.

Mads Friis Jensen, Chief Commercial Officer and Co-founder, Blue World Technologies, said: "Fuel cells have the potential to expedite the green transformation of shipping. The technology will enable a new generation of very simple and reliable ships that will be much easier to digitize than the ships we have today. This will open up for exciting new opportunities."

Last week Alfa Laval opened a 1,600sqm Application & Innovation centre in Kolding to accelerate hygienic fluid handling technology (click here) for food and pharmaceutical applications. 

The power of partnerships and alliances

ABB recently announced a strategic investment and development agreement with AFC Energy to further the advancement of fuel cell technology integration into its high-growth eMobility and data center segments (click here). 

The partnership will work towards a zero emission, sustainable turn-key power solution for the growing number of current and prospective data centers currently servicing the world’s data storage and processing requirements. End-user spending on global data center infrastructure is projected to increase 6 percent in 2021 from the previous year.

SFC Energy became the newest member to join the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance this month. 

"By joining the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance we want to contribute our know-how and experience to drive the development of the market for clean hydrogen technologies in Europe. At the same time, we look forward to a continuous and enriching dialogue with representatives from politics and industry", said Dr. Peter Podesser, CEO of SFC Energy. 

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May 5, 2021

AES Corp seals 10-year carbon-free energy deal with Google

AESCorp
Google
datacenters
Dominic Ellis
3 min
AES Corporation will ensure energy powering Google's Virginia data centers will be '90% carbon free'

The AES Corporation has struck a 10-year supply contract with Google to provide near-carbon-free energy to power its Virginia-based data centers which will start later this year.

Claiming the first clean energy procurement deal in the world of its kind, AES will help ensure that the energy powering those data centers will be 90% carbon-free when measured on an hourly basis.

AES will become the sole supplier of the data centers' carbon-free energy needs on an annual basis, sourcing energy from a portfolio of wind, solar, hydro and battery storage resources to be developed or contracted by AES.

The agreement marks an important step in meeting Google's previously announced goal to run its business on 100% carbon-free energy on an hourly basis by 2030.

"Last year, Google set an ambitious sustainability goal of committing to 100% 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030. Today, we are proud that through our collaboration with Google, we are making 24/7 carbon-free energy a reality for their data centers in Virginia," said Andrés Gluski, AES President and CEO. "This first-of-its-kind solution, which we co-created with Google, will set a new sustainability standard for companies and organizations seeking to eliminate carbon from their energy supply."

"Not only is this partnership with AES an important step towards achieving Google's 24/7 carbon-free energy goal, it also lays a blueprint for other companies looking to decarbonize their own operations," says Michael Terrell, Director of Energy at Google. "Our hope is that this model can be replicated to accelerate the clean energy transition, both for companies and, eventually, for power grids." 

AES assembled the 500MW portfolio from a combination of AES' own renewable energy projects and those of third-party developers, which were selected, sized and contracted to meet Google's energy needs across a number of considerations, including cost efficiency, additionality and carbon-free energy profile.

The portfolio assembled by AES is expected to require approximately $600 million of investment and generate 1,200 jobs, both permanent and construction, in the host communities. These efforts will greatly simplify Google's energy procurement and management at a competitive price while decarbonizing Google's load and the broader PJM grid.

This supply agreement follows on the strategic alliance AES and Google formed in November 2019 to leverage Google Cloud technology to accelerate innovation in energy distribution and management and advance the adoption of clean energy. AES is pioneering greener, smarter energy innovations, with the goal of expanding the services available to large-scale corporate customers.

The Google.org Impact Challenge on Climate commits €10M to fund bold ideas that aim to use technology to accelerate Europe’s progress toward a greener, more resilient future. Selected organisations may receive up to €2M in funding and possible customised post-grant support from the Google for Startups Accelerator to help bring their ideas to life.

Last year it issued $5.75 billion in sustainability bonds to fund ongoing and new environmentally or socially responsible projects. To read its 2020 Environment report, click here.

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