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Retrofit Solutions and Next Generation Propulsion for Waterborne Transport


To address these challenges, proposals should address one of the following two subtopics and clearly indicate which subtopic is addressed:

Subtopic A) To be implemented through Research and Innovation Action.

  • Develop and validate a concept for a passenger ship powered primarily by high power fuel cells and if more efficient, in combination with a combustion engine or turbine as a combined cycle. On board power should exceed 5 MW and the concept should address issues concerning; combined heat and power, battery hybridisation, reliability, environmental performance on the whole life cycle, safety, regulatory, cost, ship design and layout, power system weight, volume and service requirements. The concept should be founded using LNG or LBG or CBG or synthetic fuels with the additional consideration of the consequences of 100% hydrogen operation. In addition, the critical barriers to development and deployment should be identified together with a road map for their solution. Work is expected to focus on the integration of fuel cell technology within the ship and not the detailed internal design of the fuel cell. Work should build upon other relevant activities such as the development of the IGF code within IMO.

Subtopic B) To be implemented through Innovation Action.

Proposals should address one or more of the following aspects:

  • Develop and validate to at least TRL 5 innovative next generation high efficiency propulsion systems for ships using electrification and or clean fuels and or renewable energy sources. Consider all aspects of the ship propulsion system including related materials, electrical systems, energy storage and impact on ship design leading towards a zero emission maritime transport.
  • Develop and validate to TRL 5 highly innovative large area high efficiency or renewable energy assistance propulsion systems such as whale tales, novel wind power or bio mimic devices and their integration into the ship design. Demonstrate and assess on the whole life cycle, reliability, materials and efficiency at large model scale within a variety of conditions. Consider hydrodynamic and overall efficiency, endurance, reliability, materials, biofouling, noise, manufacture and cost.
  • Develop and demonstrate to TRL 6 innovative, cost effective retrofit solutions for marine shipping which will provide substantial improvements in terms of environmental impact and life cycle cost. Solutions must significantly reduce emission in line with water and air quality objectives and even exceeding current legislative requirements, particularly around ports and urban areas. In combination with distillate fuels, solutions must significantly reduce NOX, SOX and particulate matters (PM), particularly for the most harmful particle sizes, particularly within coastal and port areas. Operational requirements, cost benefits, including effluent disposal costs and procedures shall be considered. Disseminate outcomes and facilitate take up by key stakeholders.
  • Develop and demonstrate to TRL 6 innovative, cost effective retrofit solutions for inland waterways which will provide substantial improvements in environmental performance. Solutions must significantly reduce emissions at least in compliance and preferably exceeding water and air quality requirements, particularly around terminals and urban areas. In combination with current compliance options (distillates or other low sulphur fuels, required engine operating parameters,…) solutions must meet regulatory requirements and significantly reduce NOX, SOX and ultrafine particulates, particularly for the most harmful particle sizes (including ultrafine particles), particularly within urban, port and terminal areas. Operational requirements, approvals, financing, cost benefits, including effluent disposal costs and procedures shall be considered. Disseminate outcomes and facilitate take up by key stakeholders.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a budget from the EU of between EUR 4 to 8 million each for Subtopic A and between EUR 3 to 5 million each for Subtopic B, would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Emissions from waterborne transport remain a challenge particularly concerning the water and air quality around coasts, ports and urban areas. For shipping and inland waterway transport retrofit technology including for example engine modifications, engine replacement, exhaust gas cleaning systems, PM filters, hybrid batteries, fuel changes, efficient emissions capture and storage system can potentially improve the environmental performance (CO2, NOx, SOx, PM) of existing fleets within the next five to ten years. However, new next generation vessels are expected to be both cleaner and more CO2 efficient. Vessels will be increasingly electrified and hybridised use clean fuels, on board energy storage and employ new technologies such as optimised design, batteries and high power fuels cells integrated within dual cycles and with combined heat and power. Novel large area propulsion systems also offer the possibility of large efficiency gains. To maximise efficiency gains from these technologies a radical rethink of ship design is needed.

Next generation propulsion solutions will enable a large (>10%) increase in energy efficiency and CO2 reduction. Enable integration of large high power marine fuel cells into ship design and demonstrate their feasibility, cost effectiveness and identify technical barriers to adoption. Enable innovative high efficiency low emission ship propulsion system that may integrate several power sources. Demonstrate the feasibility, efficiency gains, reliability and cost effectiveness of large area propulsers. Retrofit solutions will reduce SOx, NOx and PM pollution from waterborne transport, particularly around ports, terminals, urban and coastal regions and in compliance with urban air quality standards but also at open sea since air pollution can travel large distances. Significantly, increase the take up of retrofit emission reduction solutions in existing vessels. Enhance European competitiveness and support European jobs and growth. Facilitate deployment of innovative green waterborne transport technology.