Ardmore Shipping forms joint venture to deliver hydrogen fuel cells

by 16, Mar, 2021Innovation, Maritime 4.00 comments


Anthony Gurnee, Ardmore’s chief executive officer. Image courtesy of Ardmore Shipping.

Ardmore Shipping Corporation has announced that it has formed and invested in a new joint venture with Element 1 Corp. (E1) and Maritime Partners to bring E1’s methanol-to-hydrogen technology to the marine sector.

The three parties will establish an equal share partnership to form ‘e1 Marine’. The new company will have a worldwide remit for the marketing, development, licensing and sale of E1’s hydrogen generation systems for the marine industry, including shipping, refrigerated containers, offshore energy, renewable energy, passenger and leisure, and certain port infrastructure and related applications.

Element 1 Corp., headquartered in Bend, Oregon, is a leading developer of advanced hydrogen generation systems used to power fuel cells with broad use in mobile applications and remote locations such as marine, trucking, automotive, off-road vehicles, rail, warehousing, and backup power supply sectors. E1’s proprietary technology produces hydrogen on demand at the point of consumption, eliminating the logistical challenges and costs inherent in distributing compressed hydrogen.

Maritime Partners, headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana, is a leading provider of flexible financing solutions and newbuilding support to the maritime industry, with a focus on Jones Act vessels and inland marine transportation.

Anthony Gurnee, Ardmore’s chief executive officer, said: “We are very pleased to establish a strategic relationship with E1 and Maritime Partners to deliver this unique hydrogen delivery system to the marine sector. The establishment of e1 Marine and our investment in E1 advance our Energy Transition Plan, which includes a focus on transition technologies aimed at reducing carbon emissions in the shipping industry and utilising Ardmore’s engineering and marketing capabilities to accelerate their deployment.

“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 per cent less carbon than a diesel engine of the same power rating. 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.”

Dr. Dave Edlund, co-founder and CEO of Element 1 Corp., said: “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. This strategic relationship is the direct result of our partners’ vision as well as their commitment to environmental responsibility.

“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. E1’s methanol-to-hydrogen technology offers a broad solution to this challenge. Importantly, Ardmore and Maritime Partners provide unique access to existing markets in international shipping and inland waterways.”

Ardmore’s interest in the joint venture and its investment in E1 will be held by Ardmore Ventures, a newly incorporated holding company for existing and future potential investments related to Ardmore’s Energy Transition Plan.

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