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Nautical Integrated Hybrid Energy System for Long-haul Cruise Ships

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Nautilus (Nautical Integrated Hybrid Energy System for Long-haul Cruise Ships)

Reporting period: 2020-07-01 to 2021-12-31

Maritime transport, including long-haul passenger ships, emits greenhouse gases and pollutants. To reduce these emissions and comply with the International Maritime Organisation's targets for 2030 and beyond, the EU-funded Nautilus project will develop an integrated marine energy system that will use liquefied natural gas. The project will build a pilot technology that will gradually replace the internal combustion engine-based generators with a solid oxide fuel cell–battery hybrid genset. Moreover, Nautilus will work on a digital design and a demonstrator of an on-board energy system for vessels transporting 1.000 and more than 5.000 passengers, which will be evaluated according to the marine safety regulations.
Within conceptual parts of the project, for an on-board energy system of 60 MW based on fuel cell-battery hybrid system and fueled with LNG, the technical and economic requirements, and marine safety requirements were conducted and concluded. Furthermore, the genset performance with five potential future marine fuels (LNG, methanol, Fischer-Tropsch diesel, ammonia and hydrogen) have been performed. Within technical parts of the project, in order to perform the engineering of up to 60 MWe SOFC-Battery hybrid based on key performance indicators defined by analyses, the focus of activities was on the development of the process flow diagram, the optimization of the heat exchanger network and the development of the process and instrumentation diagram representing all operation modes. The design indicated excellent electrical efficiencies between 60% to 65% and with integrated thermal management through optimization of heat exchangers network (HEN) total efficiency between 85% to 89% could be shown. Battery models are developed and tested again experimental data with high degree of agreement as well as first generation of genset models are on-going. A 30 kW Large Stack module (LSM) of fuel cell is assembled for experimental testing and in parallel, the testbench needed for the qualification of the LSM has been put together. Lastly, the work on functional demonstrator initiated in which the technical requirements of the functional demonstrator have been specified, the system PnID and layout has been defined, the battery rack system already been specified and ordered. Also, the detailed mechanical design and electrical design of the functional demonstrator container has already started.
The project is well on track to develop a genset and complete integrated on board energy system that offers energy efficiency significantly higher to the state-of-the-art marine engine technology. The efficient hybridization of solid oxide fuel cell with battery and optimization of heat integration enables NAUTILUS energy system to reach a net efficiency as high as 89%. Moreover, while using LNG as fuel, the NAUTILUS energy system has the potential to reduce GHGs by 50% because of the high conversion efficiency on one hand and on other hand due to avoidance of the methane slips. Moreover, other pollutant can be reduced by more than 98%.

Aside to strident ecological and safety standards that were the main challenge for taking on this project, now the overall slowdown in the leisure and travelling sector due to COVID and imposed health and hygiene protocols become another challenge for the passengers shipping sector. The recovery will take time depending also on pandemic and economic situation so at the time it is hard to predict if the impact of the project will be as it was expected before pandemic. Event thought the sector is facing abovementioned challenges and the project is challenged by a slow down in the supply chain and other Covid-related restriction impacting day-to day work in laboratories, in offices, and at yards, the fulfilment of the envisaged goals of the project is expected.