Shipping accounts for roughly 80 percent of all kilometres covered for freight transport annually worldwide. The tourism sector reports similar increases in popularity for cruises and other ship-centred activities. According to the United Nations, ships are amongst the biggest sources of CO2. The Emma Maersk, one of the world’s largest container ships, emits as much as a middle-sized coal fired power plant on her trips between Europe and China. In addition to that, 90 percent of large ships are still propelled by heavy oil, which leads to very high sulphur dioxide emissions because of its high sulphur content. All this shows very clearly: The need for action is urgent.

The leader for environmentally friendly alternatives is the LEC, Austria’s leading research facility for large engine research. As the captain of the ambitious project the LEC coordinates the international project partners and is responsible for implementing the technology. The powerful and international consortium consists of renowned scientific partners of the LEC, component and equipment manufacturers, a shipyard, a shipping company, as well as a ship classification society.

The goal of HyMethShip is a CO2 reduction of 97 percent and a nitrogen oxide reduction of 80 percent. Simultaneously the energy efficiency should be raised by 45 percent. “The proposed concept is a possible way of storing large amounts of renewable energy for a long period of time in order to have a de facto emission free ship propulsion.”, states Stephan Laiminger of GE Jenbacher. Prof. Dr. Harald Kainz, Rector of the Graz University of Technology adds, that the LEC, along with its top-class partners from science and economy, accomplishes a quantum leap to the next generation of big engines by operating at the intersection between fundamental and applied research. This will bring the industry a lot closer to the very important implementation of environmentally friendly engine technology.

The innovation potential and the extent to which the project goes beyond the current state of technology is excellent. HyMethShip will optimize and implement technologies, which have so far never been used for shipping and which have the potential to eliminate sulphur and CO2 emissions. – Prof. Andreas Wimmer, CEO and scientific director of the LEC