DNV Green Lights AFC Energy’s Latest Hydrogen Fuel Cell & Ammonia Cracker for ZeroCoaster’s Ship Design

By December 1, 2021 4   min read  (803 words)

December 1, 2021 |

Fuel Cells Works, DNV Green Lights AFC Energy's Latest Hydrogen Fuel Cell & Ammonia Cracker for ZeroCoaster's Ship Design
  • Opens door to use of green ammonia to decarbonise the global maritime market

LONDON — AFC Energy, a leading provider of hydrogen power generation technologies, is pleased to announce a milestone achievement set to unlock adoption of Ammonia and high energy dense alkaline fuel cell technology in the multi-billion-dollar effort to decarbonise global maritime.  

International certification agency, DNV, has now awarded “Approval in Principle” (or “AiP”) status for the ZeroCoaster ammonia fuelled cargo ship, confirming an independent assessment that the ship’s design is feasible and there are no obstacles to the design being commercially realised.

AFC Energy believes this is the first time an alkaline fuel cell with ammonia cracker and fuel storage has received this approval which opens the door to the use of green ammonia to decarbonise the maritime market


  • ZeroCoaster Consortium is led by Vard Engineering Brevik AS and includes ABB, Trosvik Maritime, SINTEF Ocean and HK Shipping and is sponsored by the Norwegian Government.
  • Objective is to design next generation coastal cargo ships to accelerate the transition to zero-emission shipping solutions.
  • To meet 2030 decarbonisation targets for the shipping industry, Norway alone is expected to require 1,100 zero or low emission ships, including 450 bulk carrier cargo ships of the type envisaged by ZeroCoaster.
  • AFC Energy began work with VARD, ABB and ZeroCoaster partners in June 2021 to design and engineer a modularised bulk carrier cargo ship propulsion system fuelled with green ammonia.
  • The technology chosen for the ship’s 1.2MW capacity is AFC Energy’s new “S” Series heavy duty marinised platform which is expected to host 2 x 600kW of alkaline fuel cell systems plus ammonia cracking technology within modular 40ft containers.
  • VARD will now commence commercial discussions with prospective customers for the purchase of new ammonia fuelled ships, featuring AFC Energy’s marinised fuel cell and cracker module.

Andreas Buskop, General Manager, Engineering at Vard Engineering Brevik AS, said: “VARD has long shown leadership in maritime design and innovation with a focus of accelerating the transition to zero emission.  We strongly believe in the role Green Ammonia will play in supporting industry’s aspirations to “go green”, and working alongside industry leaders in alkaline fuel cell technology, AFC Energy, we are pleased to have gained confirmation of our AiP from DNV, highlighting what we understand to be a world first in ship design for ammonia fuel cell and cracker utilisation.  We now look forward to further working with AFC Energy in taking this design to commercial fruition.”

Adam Bond, Chief Executive Officer at AFC Energy, said: “The maritime industry’s increasing reliance on Green Ammonia as a decarbonisation fuel lends itself perfectly to AFC Energy’s high energy dense alkaline fuel cell technology.  Having worked in design concepts for the past six months on the marinisation of our integrated, heavy duty fuel cell and cracker technologies, we are pleased to have been invited to partner with world leading ship designers and builders such as VARD to highlight the potential for the safe and compliant propulsion and auxiliary powering of cargo ships as part of the ZeroCoaster project. Receipt of AiP from DNV is simply a confirmation and validation of the role our technology will play in supporting mariners to achieve stringent greenhouse reduction targets.”

DNV, one of the world’s leading classification and certification bodies in the maritime industry has evaluated the design and integration of the alkaline fuel cell module with in-built cracker and concluded that the design complies with all relevant maritime rules, regulations and standards.

This AIP marks another key milestone in unlocking the vast potential of Green Ammonia as a zero-emission fuel within the maritime industry, alongside deployment of AFC Energy’s high energy dense fuel cell platform and cracker module.  The AiP confirms the design is feasible and that there are no obstacles that could prevent the solution from being realised.

The ZeroCoaster coastal bulk cargo programme, coordinated by VARD, a major global ship design and ship build company, aims to evaluate and present zero emission ship design solutions using alternative maritime fuelling systems, including Green Ammonia.

The programme, funded by the Research Council of Norway, will now look to incorporate the storage, handling and cracking of Green Ammonia fuel to generate hydrogen which is then utilised within a zero-emission alkaline fuel cell system supplied by AFC Energy for propulsion and auxiliary power.

Norway has set a target to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030, which is expected to require up to 1,100 zero emission (or low emission) ships in Norway alone, including 450 bulk cargo ships such as the ZeroCoaster.

Green Ammonia has been highlighted as a key fuel to support the decarbonisation of the global maritime industry with estimates suggesting the fuel could be used to decarbonise up to 25-30% of maritime fleets.

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