The certificate was issued by CCS’ Wuhan branch, marking a major milestone in China’s pursuit of commercially viable alternative fuels and provides a new channel for the use of hydrogen fuel cells on ships.
“Hydrogen is abundant and is an ideal candidate as a zero-emission fuel for combustion engines. This certificate is the culmination of many years of work. CCS published its first guidelines on harnessing hydrogen as a commercial marine fuel in 2015 with the guidelines latest updated in 2020. The detailed research found a hydrogen-enabled ship could ultimately be as safe as one powered by conventional fuels such as diesel,” said Jia Siqing, General Manager of industrial products for CCS Wuhan branch.
The next phase of hydrogen development will see CCS undertake a series of real time tests on a purpose-built 2,100dwt bulk carrier, which is currently at the design stage but is expected to be powered by four 130kw hydrogen fuel cells.
The ship will be trialed along the Pearl River in Guangdong province mainly for safety procedures, introduced by Luo Xiaofeng, the Director of CSS Rules & Research Institute in Wuhan. Hydrogen is clearly the future and is a very hot topic in China. In the short-term, for deep sea voyages, low-carbon and hybrid systems are better forms of propulsion, Luo continued.
A major challenge CCS is looking to tackle during the tests is storing enough hydrogen to take a ship on a deep sea voyage. Currently CCS is researching ways to store hydrogen in large quantities and combine it with other fuel sources to extend range, Jia said.
In addition to conducting research on various forms of marine hydrogen fuel storage technology, CCS has also jointly carried out special research on the application of hydrogen fuel on ships with China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), including risk assessment, ventilation and fire-fighting. The studies evaluated the feasibility, reliability and safety of hydrogen fuelled ships and provided support for the development of technical regulations.
CCS is further now authorised by China Maritime Safety Administration to research and develop the first domestic technical regulations for ships using hydrogen fuel, which will be released at the end of 2021.
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