Scientists presented an idea for emission-free container ships

Scientists presented an idea for emission-free container ships

A team of researchers at Northwestern University has detailed their idea of ​​zero-emission container ships in an effort to eliminate about 1.7% of global emissions for which they are responsible. The idea is simple – tankers would still generate emissions, but keep them “to themselves”.

The new idea for zero-emission container ships assumes that these would collect the emissions generated on board

Scientists concluded that the commonly used hydrocarbons are too good to be omitted. Therefore, they decided to develop a SOFC (Solid Oxide Fuel Cell) based system which, while usually operating carbon-free, using hydrogen as a fuel, is also capable of generating electricity from hydrocarbon fuels, generating water and carbon dioxide at the same time.

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The plan envisages that these types of zero-emission container ships would have a vessel’s fuel tank with a movable partition so that, after fuel consumption, the fuel side of the tank could shrink and the CO2 could be compressed with standard compressors and used to fill the tank from the other side. The team says the compression process alone consumes about 2 percent of the energy generated by the SOFC.

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This technology really doesn’t have any major obstacles to working. Just replace the fuel tank with a two-chamber tank and add CO2 compressors.

Says Scott Barnett, study senior author and SOFC expert.

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Thanks to the compressed CO2 in the form of gas in the tank, this would simply be discharged at the port and then neutralized or used in some way. At the moment, however, there are no details about their use in practice.


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