In the REFUEL project, research, industry, and governmental institutions have joined forces to make low-carbon and zero-emission solutions a realistic alternative for the coastal fleet. Refueling stations for these fuels are not yet available. Converting the vessels from fossil fuels to zero-emission or low-carbon energy carriers is therefore not possible without also establishing a proper system for reliable and efficient refueling and recharging services.
In this project, a conceptual layout for a sustainable coastal green energy supply chain will be developed. This includes recommendations for the location, layout, and content of modularizable green energy stations. Implementation of feasible multi-fuel systems on board coastal vessels for retrofitting will also be investigated. By making green energy accessible for fishing vessels, aquaculture vessels, passenger vessels, bulk carriers, and other cargo vessels, the project will contribute to reaching Norway's goals for emission reduction by 2030 and 2050.
The project will make knowledge and technology on alternative fuels available for other industries and the public, thereby expediting the transition to renewable energy for society in total. Recommendations from the project will be given to government agencies and policymakers to deploy infrastructure for low-carbon and zero-emission fuels. Although the project focuses on coastal ships in Norway, the results of the project will also be applicable to coastal infrastructure worldwide.
9 Norwegian maritime companies covering the whole value chain are active partners in the project: Corvus, Frøy ASA, HPS – Haf Power Solutions, Hofseth International, Inseanergy, Norwegian Coastal Administration, Nogva Motorfabrikk, Norwegian Hydrogen, ÅKP – GCE Blue Maritime Cluster. NTNU Ålesund is the project manager. Two Ph.D. candidates will be educated during the project period from 2023 to 2027.
Due to national and international regulations for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, the maritime industry must develop new solutions for alternative fuels. Viable sustainable alternatives are not yet available for this industry, and a sustainable coastal green energy supply chain must therefore be established.
Through analyses of real data on sailing routes and energy consumption, the project will identify locations for future energy stations, specify the types and quantities of energy carriers to be offered at the individual station, develop a layout of the station, and propose strategies to avoid peaks in demand at the energy station. The whole value chain from production to consumption of the energy carrier will be included in the analyses. As a result, the project will contribute to enabling scaling up the green fuel value chain and making green fuels available as a realistic alternative for the maritime sector.
The project will also build integration between various energy systems. This is related to interfaces and total energy efficiency, including heating/cooling, energy conversion, and propulsion power. The aim is to develop scalable solutions, which may be implemented in other industries as well, and contribute to a faster transition to zero- and low-emission fuels.
The project results will enable these vessels to change from fossil fuels to zero or low emission fuels. This will be achieved through planning a green energy supply network and infrastructure, efficient energy solutions onboard the vessel, including multi-fuel solutions, new layout, and implementation of new technology. Interchangeability in energy systems will increase the lifetime of the energy systems and increase the sustainability of the industry. In this project, possibilities and limitations related to maritime application of the various novel energy systems will be investigated, with respect to production, storage, distribution and supply, design, operation, and safety.