Electrochemical technology specialist Ceres joined its consortium partners in Portsmouth today (May 24th) for the conclusion of Phase One of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC).

The competition is part of a £23m investment made by the UK Government in 2021 to accelerate development, design, and manufacture of zero-emission vessels in British shipyards by 2025. 

Ceres’ solution involves integrating its solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology in megawatt (MW) class cruise ship applications to lower emissions in the maritime sector. 

The consortium – comprised of Ceres, GE Power Conversion, MSC Cruise Management UK, and Lloyd’s Register – has confirmed the feasibility of using a 10MW fuel cell power installation to replace diesel-fuelled generators on large vessels.

Capable of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 47%, the technology can eliminate nitrous oxide almost entirely from the exhaust stream, when operated over the same energy demand profile. 

Stating that the CMDC has been an ‘invaluable process’ for the Ceres team, Caroline Hargrove, Chief Technology Officer, Ceres, added, “We believe these findings are an important step in validating the compatibility of solid oxide technology with maritime applications and we await the second phase of the Competition to further demonstrate a safe and feasible transition pathway for the shipping industry to reach net-zero emissions.” 

In addition to investigating the potential for replacing diesel generators with SOFC’s coupled with batteries, the study was able to demonstrate a carbon emission reduction of up to 36% while at sea. 

Emissions could be eliminated entirely by using clean fuel alternatives such as green hydrogen to operate the whole system.