Developing Unique Methanol-to-Hydrogen Technology for Marine Sector

methanol to hydrogen for marine sector

Published Mar 15, 2021 8:10 PM by The Maritime Executive

Ardmore Shipping Corporation has signed a Letter of Intent with Element 1 and Maritime Partners to establish a joint venture to launch a unique methanol-to-hydrogen technology to the marine sector. The unique technology, developed by Element 1 produces hydrogen on demand at the point of consumption, eliminating the logistical challenges and costs inherent in distributing compressed hydrogen.

The new company, which will be jointly owned by the three partners and known e1 Marine, will focus on the marketing, development, licensing and sale of E1's unique hydrogen generation systems for application to the marine industry, including shipping, refrigerated containers, offshore energy, renewable energy, passenger and leisure, and certain port infrastructure and related applications.

We are excited about the market opportunity for E1's methanol-to-hydrogen technology.  We believe it is safer and cheaper than other alternatives for onboard hydrogen delivery and, when using standard methanol, is operationally cost competitive with diesel engines even today, while emitting zero particulates, zero NOx, zero SOx, and 30-50% less carbon than a diesel engine of the same power rating,” said Anthony Gurnee, Ardmore's Chief Executive Officer. “The E1 system is carbon-neutral when run on renewable methanol, should prove to be very cost competitive with other alternatives, and if desired can be built or retrofitted to run on ammonia.”

According to the partners, Element 1’s technology for advanced hydrogen generation systems used to power fuel cells is well suited to broad use in mobile applications and remote locations such as marine, trucking, automotive, off-road vehicles, rail, warehousing, and backup power supply sectors.   In the marine sector they believe it can provide a safe and efficient delivery of hydrogen onboard. They believe it is well suited for mid-size power applications, able to create a significant and cost-effective reduction in CO2 emissions when using standard methanol vs. gasoil, fully carbon-neutral when using renewable methanol, and can be modified to run on ammonia.

“Whereas fuel cell technology has matured substantially over recent decades, the supply of hydrogen as feedstock to fuel cells has lagged considerably, resulting in significant logistic and economic challenges to the wide-scale deployment of fuel cells,” said Dr. Dave Edlund Co-Founder and CEO of Element 1 Corp. "Element 1 is delighted to ally with Ardmore and Maritime Partners to deliver commercial solutions for the marine sector that will significantly reduce the carbon intensity as well as other harmful emissions (particulate matter, NOx, and SOx) traditionally associated with burning fossil fuels.”

Maritime Partners, which is a provider of financing solutions and newbuilding support to the maritime industry, with a focus on Jones Act vessels and inland marine transportation, highlights the potential for the inland sector. “We are particularly excited about the applications for this technology within the inland marine industry, as it offers the potential to materially lower carbon emissions in the near-term and provide a clear path to achieving a zero-carbon footprint.  Importantly, we believe this technology is currently cost competitive with diesel internal combustion engines,” said Bick Brooks, Co-Founder and CEO of Maritime Partners.

Negotiation and execution of definitive agreements is currently ongoing. The transactions are expected to close simultaneously early in the second quarter of 2021, subject to the satisfaction of closing conditions.