Research partnership for sustainable shipping and energy

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On January 8, 2023, Fraunhofer IKTS, Korea Shipbuilding and Offshore Engineering (KSOE) Co, LTD and European SOC producer ELCOGEN agreed on a close development collaboration in the fields of hydrogen and fuel/electrolysis cells.


"We are very happy that we can contribute our world leading R&D competencies in SOFC and SOE technology to this outstanding partnershipwith KSOE and Elcogen," says Prof. Alexander Michaelis, Institute Director of Fraunhofer IKTS at the signing of the joint Memorandum of Understanding in Las Vegas. "This is another huge step in fulfilling our mission to transfer technology for a sustainable and carbon free energy future."

Fraunhofer IKTS brings more than 20 years of experience in solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) and electrolyzer cell (SOEC) development to the partnership. IKTS has developed various stack designs, , constructed them as prototypes and tested them for their suitability and for different applications including load profiles, including long-term and cycling tests. Together with partners, the institute develops decentralized energy supply systems on this basis - from micro-CHP systems to systems with more than 20 kW power. For this purpose, not only SOC stacks but also other essential components such as reformers and afterburners are developed at IKTS. In addition, work is being done on cost-efficient and automatable manufacturing processes for stack and system production.

At a time the shipbuilding and offshore industries are now moving into a zero CO2 era, the collaboration between KSOE, Fraunhofer IKTS and ELCOGEN is highly significant, explains Dr. Sung-Joon Kim, Chief Technical Officer of KSOE. KSOE is a research-oriented intermediate holding company of the Hyundai Heavy Industry (HHI) Group, one of the world's largest shipbuilders, based in Seoul, South Korea. The company's research includes environmentally friendly marine propulsion systems and innovative solutions for the hydrogen value chain (production, transportation, supply).

Elcogen is a European producer of solid oxide systems that deliver affordable green hydrogen (SOFC) and zero-emission electricity (SOEC). Enn Õunpuu, CEO of Elcogen, comments, "SOFC technology has the potential to make an important contribution to the decarbonization of the marine sector. The agreement with KSOE and Fraunhofer IKTS shows that world-class shipbuilders and system integrators share this view."