Is hydrogen the key to the energy transition?

Back to news

Following Ardmore Shipping’s recent announcement regarding its new partnership with e1 Marine, the debate has continued over why hydrogen could be an important part of the solution as shipping takes its first step towards a decarbonized future.

Since its inception in 2010, Ardmore has been focused on improving the performance and fuel efficiency of its fleet, fully understanding the immediate need to mitigate the impact of shipping on the environment and to prepare for the coming energy transition. With this in mind, Ardmore is dedicated to playing a pivotal role in the energy transition. We are continually striving to reduce harmful emissions, focusing more of our business on sustainable, non-fossil fuel cargoes, and seeking to develop and invest in progressive and innovative sustainability projects that also meet our customers’ needs.

Hydrogen has been viewed as one of the key zero-carbon fuels for the future but also faces delivery and storage issues that restrict its potential uses. However, hydrogen can be an important part of the solution and there are numerous applications where it can make a significant contribution. For marine applications such as electrical generators on ocean-going vessels, main propulsion for inland and coastal vessels, and power for refrigerated containers, hydrogen-powered low-temperature PEM fuel cells are the logical choice to achieve “low-to-no” carbon emissions, in keeping with the IMO’s 2030 and 2050 targets and other regulations.

What makes the concept work so effectively is that onboard hydrogen generation is a much more cost-effective solution than offsite production, transportation, and onboard storage. Methanol is readily available across all sectors as a bunker fuel and is easy to handle and store with some basic modifications to bunkering systems and safety protocols.

What’s more is one-third of the fuel is comprised of water, further increasing the efficiency of the hydrogen generation plant.

We believe e1 Marine’s methanol-to-hydrogen technology is safer and cheaper than other alternatives for on-board hydrogen delivery. When using standard methanol, it is operationally cost-competitive with diesel generators even today, while emitting zero particulates, zero NOx, zero SOx, and 20-30% less carbon than a diesel engine of the same power rating. 

This hydrogen solution is a highly viable option for the marine industry and an important part of Ardmore’s collaborative approach to exploring new low and zero-carbon alternatives, as part of our wider support for shipping’s energy transition for the benefit of the entire industry. We look forward to continuing our focus on progressing technologies that are available today and making changes now before it is too late.

Learn more about this project here.