Demand for hydrogen-based systems set to grow amid push toward decarbonization
BEIJING — Industries around the world are revamping their energy strategies to cut carbon dioxide emissions as the planet warms.
Shipping is no exception. From January 2020, the United Nations shipping agency banned vessels from using fuels with sulfur content above 0.5%, while carrying noncompliant fuel oil on ships was also banned in March that year.
The sector has set a medium-term goal of cutting CO2 emissions by 50% to 70%, with technical innovation in marine power systems seen as key to achieving that goal.
Shanghai-based company ExploMar offers hydrogen-based marine power systems. Its founding staff come from automakers, shipbuilders, energy companies and other organizations.
“By introducing and integrating technologies from various fields, we can create power systems that suit customer needs and show our deep understanding of the shipping industry’s decarbonization road map,” said founder Dong Jiang.
ExploMar’s first-generation hydrogen-based marine power system ISLANDWAVE works with ships that require 100 kW to 1,000 kW of power. The company says the system can solve problems such as the rising cost and high environmental impact of fuel oil-based power systems. Hydrogen power, which does not emit carbon dioxide, is seen as a safe and efficient form of energy.
The company says its founding members’ diverse backgrounds are vital when it comes to making decisions on its growth strategy.
Asked why the company is targeting the shipping industry, Dong said that although the use of hydrogen fuel cells in commercial vehicles is proceeding rapidly in China, that’s mostly been supported by subsidies.
“Our team has found a more promising market through experience and market trend analysis,” he said.
In China, ExploMar aims to help makers of public vessels and harbor workboats meet their decarbonization targets under the government’s goal of carbon neutrality.
The company has developed a power system for pleasure boats, harbor workboats and survey boats in the U.S., Singapore and China.
It aims to develop unique technologies and reliable products as well as build ecosystems for the new pleasure boat industry. It also plans to build research and development centers as well as experience centers in countries that have advanced shipping industries, with the aim of becoming a benchmark company in the area of hydrogen-based marine power systems.
ExploMar raised money in a seed funding round led by Chinese venture capital firm K2VC in October, and has already begun receiving orders in China and developing systems for overseas. The company has also started discussions on new funding.
36Kr, a Chinese tech news portal founded in Beijing in 2010, has more than 150 million readers worldwide. Nikkei announced a partnership with 36Kr on May 22, 2019.
Source: NIKKEI Asia
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