The global maritime transport sector reportedly produces 2.5% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions, leading various national and international organizations to begin adopting strategies targeting maritime transport emissions. For example, the International Maritime Organization has adopted regulations to reduce carbon emissions from international shipping by at least 50%, compared to 2008 levels, by 2050. In Europe, the European Maritime Safety Organization has an objective to cut the EU's carbon dioxide emissions from maritime transport by at least 40%, and up to 50%, compared to 2005 levels by 2050. In Norway, the Norwegian parliament has announced that the country’s UNESCO-protected fjords shall be free from cruise ship and ferry emissions no later than 2026.
Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) offer an attractive solution to reduce the carbon emissions of the maritime transport sector as maritime propulsion systems powered by green hydrogen, i.e., hydrogen which is produced from renewable electricity sources such as solar or wind, represent truly zero-emission energy systems. Additionally, PEMFCs offer high energy efficiencies with rapid refuelling times, and a modular design that offers easy scale up solutions into the power ranges required for large shipping vessels. Despite the continuous efforts of researchers over the past decade, the current landscape of fuel cell technologies shows limitations at the component level in terms of performance, durability, and production cost. The LOCOMOTION project aims to address the challenges surrounding fuel cell adoption in maritime transport applications through a bottom-up approach to fuel cell component design. Specifically, we will be targeting the development of novel membrane, catalyst, and catalyst support materials to reduce the production cost of fuel cells and increase component durability under demanding maritime load cycles, while maintaining high performance.
The overall objective of LOCOMOTION is to develop novel membrane, catalyst, and catalyst support materials to reduce the production cost of fuel cells and increase component durability under demanding maritime load cycles, while maintaining high performance.
The first phase of LOCOMOTION will focus on material development and will be divided into three activities investigating the development of i) hydrocarbon membranes, ii) graphene-based catalyst supports, and iii) Pt-alloy catalysts. The second phase of the project will focus on the development of catalyst inks using the most promising materials identified in Phase I and the production of catalyst coated membranes (CCMs) ready for in-situ fuel cell testing. The third phase of LOCOMOTION will focus on demonstrating the in-situ fuel cell (single cell, 50 cm2) performance and durability of the novel LOCOMOTION CCMs.
To achieve the ambitious goals of the LOCOMOTION project, an international, multi-disciplinary consortium has been established to maximize the synergies between the specific proficiencies of each partner. SINTEF Industry (Norway) will coordinate the project and be responsible for the development of novel fluorine-free proton exchange membranes, CealTech (Norway) will be responsible for the development of stable graphene-based catalyst support materials, TÜBITAK (Turkey) will be responsible for developing Pt-alloy catalysts, and HyPlat (South Africa) will be responsible for the catalyst coated membrane fabrication. Fuel cell testing activities will be carried out at SINTEF and TÜBITAK.