Reducing GHG emissions is possible in two ways:
- Stop producing CO2 by using alternative fuels.
- Continue burning fossil fuels but capture GHG emissions through carbon capture (CC) technologies.
Using only alternative fuels may not meet the annual demands of the shipping sector, leading to high prices due to supply shortages.
On the other hand, there are two types of CC technologies: pre-combustion and post-combustion. Post-combustion is suitable for industries on land, but it's bulky and expensive for ships.
In response to the urgent need for decarbonization of the maritime sector, we developed an innovative pre-combustion capture approach capable of meeting the environmental targets set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for the year 2050. Our proposed solution involves the progressive transformation of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) into hydrogen onboard a ship, utilizing the Steam Methane Reforming process.
The Steam Methane Reforming process allows for the conversion of LNG, a widely available and relatively cleaner fossil fuel, into hydrogen, which is a zero-emission energy carrier. By implementing this process onboard ships, we can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the environmental impact of maritime transportation.
The adoption of the Steam Methane Reforming technology can be implemented immediately, allowing the shipping industry to transition towards a more environmentally friendly future.
The hydrogen produced can be used directly to power fuel cells, or in a fuel mix with LNG in internal combustion engines. This way there is no need for the supply (bunkering) and storage of hydrogen onboard a ship, while the ship relies on a low-cost and abundantly available fuel such as LNG.
The reforming process also produces CO2, which can be liquefied from the cryogenic stream of LNG before it enters the reformer. The CO2 can then drain and be stored in a separate tank, to be used either as inert gas onboard tankers, or delivered ashore to produce syn-methane, thus triggering a recycling economy, where this syn-methane is supplied as fuel to ships.
RINA is dedicated to advancing innovative solutions that significantly reduce the environmental impact of shipping while promoting a sustainable and prosperous future for the maritime sector. Through our progressive transformation of LNG to hydrogen and the efficient handling of CO2 byproducts, we aim to facilitate the transition towards a greener and more sustainable maritime industry.
Our solution addresses the current limitations associated with traditional fossil fuel-based shipping, paving the way for a more sustainable and greener maritime industry. By harnessing the power of hydrogen as a clean energy source, we can take a substantial step towards achieving IMO's environmental objectives for 2050.
RINA Steam Methane Reforming Team
Steam Methane Reforming is the most widely used method to produce hydrogen globally. It's a mature technology and is highly energy-efficient compared to other options.
The main drawback is that it produces CO2, but this can be captured and prevented from being released into the environment.
Yes, steam methane reforming is environmentally friendly. Unlike post-combustion technologies, it doesn't require the use of chemicals. If CO2 is captured, it has no direct or indirect impact on the environment, and the materials needed for the process are recyclable.
The CO2 produced is more than twice the mass of the fed LNG due to the molecular weight difference. However, various methods can capture CO2. One proposed method involves physically separating H2 and CO2 using cryogenic temperatures when LNG is stored on board. It's a simple cooling process without the need for chemicals, and the captured CO2 can be easily stored on board.