Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE), the intermediate holding company of HD Hyundai, will embark on a mission to develop fuel cell systems for ships and power generation and acquire technologies for green hydrogen production, in collaboration with Europe’s largest research institute and a fuel cell stack manufacturer.
KSOE announced on January 9 that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Fraunhofer IKTS, a subsidiary of Germany’s Fraunhofer, and the Finnish subsidiary of Elcogen of Estonia to develop solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) and water electrolysis systems. The MOU was signed at the recently-held CES 2023 in Las Vegas.
“HD Hyundai aims to establish a hydrogen value chain that encompasses the production, transport, storage, and use of eco-friendly hydrogen,” said Sungjoon Kim, Senior Executive Vice President and head of KSOE’s Advanced Research Center. “The MOU will allow us to acquire key technologies in the fields of green hydrogen production and fuel cell system manufacturing.”
Fraunhofer IKTS is the largest applied research institute in Europe with 72 labs across Germany. It conducts research into high-performance ceramics and boasts world-class technological prowess in SOFC and water electrolysis. Established in 2001, Elcogen is a global leader in efficient, affordable solid oxide technology supplying solid oxide cells and stacks, which are the key parts of SOFC systems.
Under the agreement, KSOE will work with Fraunhofer IKTS and Elcogen to begin designing and prototype testing for large-capacity SOFC systems that are used in ships and power generation. KSOE and Fraunhofer IKTS have been collaborating since February 2022 for the basic design of SOFC systems.
SOFC produce electrical energy by inducing a chemical reaction between oxygen and a variety of fuels such as hydrogen, natural gas, ammonia, methanol, and biofuel. They are suitable for ship engines and cogeneration as they are highly energy-efficient and they can use waste heat generated from high-temperature operation (600~1000℃). SOFCs are considered the most advanced among all fuel cells developed to date.
In addition, KSOE plans to leverage Fraunhofer IKTS’s water electrolysis technologies and Elcogen’s capacity to produce the key components of fuel cells, in order to acquire technologies for producing eco-friendly hydrogen.
KSOE formed a consortium with the world-renowned energy company Shell and Doosan Fuel Cell in October last year to validate fuel cells for ships, and a test bed for the validation is currently under operation.