TECO 2030 – The Engine of Tomorrow

Hydrogen as a fuel is a much-talked-about subject in today’s sustainability-focused world and the main focus of the Norwegian company TECO 2030.

Shipping accounts for 90% of global trade and roughly 2.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Global shipping volumes are expected to continue to grow. At the same time, the world urgently needs to reduce emissions and other environmental impacts.

“Norwegian TECO 2030 is set to tackle one of the biggest environmental challenges of our time: How to reduce emissions from growing global shipping volumes. “The shipping industry can move towards zero emissions by implementing new technologies, with hydrogen fuel cells as the ultimate solution,” says CEO Tore Enger, the company founder.

For greener shipping

Founded in 2019, the company has its roots in TECO Maritime Group, a group that has provided technology and repair services to the global shipping industry since 1994. What was the first impetus driving its green development?

“In 2014-2016 we saw a change coming to the maritime industry and decided we wanted to be part of that, to be involved in making the world a better place for generations to come. We have people around us, systems around us as well as clients who are on the same wavelength and from that moment some five years ago, we have never looked back, only forward,” says Tore Enger.

TECO 2030, consisting of personnel and partners with strong R&D capabilities and maritime experience, aims to become a leading provider of green maritime technology, by developing and delivering solutions for a cleaner global environment.

The company is currently presenting its Future Funnel to the market; an exhaust gas cleaning system for ships that reduces the amount of sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), black carbon (BC) and particles (PM) in the ship exhaust. It is also delivering different ballast water treatment systems that are designed and produced by BIO-UV Group and DESMI Ocean Guard.

TECO 2030 is working on developing carbon capture and storage solutions for ships, which will separate the CO2 from the ships’ exhaust gases and store it in liquid form until the ship reaches port. These solutions will reduce the environmental and climate impacts of ships running on fossil fuels.

However, the company’s biggest focus is on developing hydrogen fuel cells, a breakthrough technology for the shipping industry.

Hydrogen fuel cells

Tore Enger explains, in quite simple terms, that the company is developing the engine of tomorrow, fuelled by green hydrogen – the engine that is expected to be applied in hundreds of thousands of floating vessels as well as in heavy industry in the next decades, within the switch from fossil fuels to climate-friendly hydrogen on the way to completely emissions-free operation.

“The thing is, even in 2050 almost 50% of all fuels will probably stillcome from fossil sources. The transition is not going to be accomplished in a few years, this is a major change impacting development for many years to come. A change that is, quite frankly, unavoidable.”

The TECO 2030 marine fuel cell is the first fuel cell system in the world that is specifically designed for use onboard ships and in other heavy-duty applications. Tore Enger points out that TECO 2030 is the only fuel cell developer which is not coming from the automotive or transport industry but is focused solely on marine and heavy industry use.

TECO 2030 has received an “Approval in Principle” (AiP) by DNV, one of the world’s leading classification and certification bodies, for its Marine Fuel Cell System and its Fuel Cell Module FCM400, confirming that these are safe to use onboard ships.

Tore Enger reflects that many clients are very much interested in the development that TECO 2030 undertakes. “The plan is to launch a small-scale production of our new engine at the end of 2022, with the first semi-automated production line in 2023. We should be able to supply the marine and heavy industries with fuel cells with a combined capacity of up to 400 MW by 2025, and of up to 1.2 GW by 2030.

Moving a mountain

The company recently reached a significant milestone when it entered into a long lease agreement for a production facility and innovation centre in Narvik in northern Norway. Over the next ten years, TECO 2030 expects total investments in the plant in Narvik to amount to up to NOK 1 billion. During that period, up to 500 new jobs may be created in Narvik within the development, pilot production and full-scale production.

“The agreement is sustainability at its best, as we are not going to build anything new but will re-use an existing building of outstanding quality and much suited for our purposes. Narvik is a great location from a logistics point of view, with an ice-free harbour all year round.”

“The facility will also significantly contribute to economic growth in northern Norway, supporting the local community, with new jobs and new opportunities. Narvik’s university is also very keen on working with us on this very interesting development. So, altogether, we can literally move the mountain towards a more sustainable future.”

And the move has started – Denmark’s Everfuel has recently signed a deal with TECO 2030 for the delivery of green hydrogen to fuel TECO 2030’s fuel cells and fuel cell-based power generators.

As part of the agreement, the companies will develop solutions enabling Everfuel to distribute and deliver green hydrogen to sites where TECO 2030’s hydrogen fuel cell power generators are located, or to ships, vehicles, or equipment with TECO 2030’s fuel cell technology installed, to enable the operators to reduce their climate footprint by switching to emissions-free fuel cell generators.

At the forefront

The new technology is being developed in cooperation with the Austrian powertrain technology company AVL, a forerunner in hydrogen application development, which will also contribute to the planning and establishment of the combined factory and innovation centre in Narvik, set to become the country’s first large-scale production of hydrogen fuel cells. The project is progressing as planned, says Tore Enger.

“The challenge is not what we are doing or going to do, the biggest challenge is that the whole supply chain is moving in a new direction. There are a lot of initiatives all over the world and the pace of changes towards better sustainability and a greener world is accelerating, as politicians around the world seem to agree that we all have to mitigate the climate change.”

“We have been an active participant in this development with our solutions, be it for the global sulphur cap that came in force in 2020 or the ballast water convention. So far, we have received enormous interest from the marine industry – a very conservative sector reluctant to actively take any new steps, but even this is slowly changing. Shipowners and operators have become aware that everyone now has to do their bit to make an impact for years to come.”

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