Ammonia-powered SOFCs ‘show most potential’ for zero-emission long range shipping

Ammonia-powered solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) have the most potential to create zero-emission long range vessels, according to a new IDTechEx report.

SOFCs are fuel-flexible, allowing for use of ammonia, hydrogen, LNG, LPG, methanol, ethanol and more, and use relatively low cost and abundant materials, creating potential for greater cost reduction than PEMFC at high volumes, the report states.

Moreover SOFCs can achieve the highest efficiencies of >80% when recycling heat, due to their high temperature operation of 800C. This results in less ammonia or hydrogen consumption per mile compared to an ammonia combustion engine or PEMFC, respectively.

Long start-up times and poor dynamic response are often cited as SOFC drawbacks, but this is manageable if paired with a battery system and a use-case of long voyages out at sea.

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