Marine testing of fuel cell system

More and more companies require fossil-free fuel for marine application areas. The Netherlands has taken a decision to develop fossil-fuel free vessels.

Norway, which introduced battery operation at an early stage, is at the forefront of establishing fuel-cell operated vessels. Within the next few years, car ferries, passenger ferries and a fishing vessel will be operated using fuel cell technology in Norway.

“The marine sector is a very interesting area where our ability to deliver electricity without emissions is extremely important. The advantage is that our fuel cell stacks are modular and in this way we can deploy several hundred hp where needed in marine applications,” says Per Wassén, President of PowerCell Sweden AB.


Vessel operation based on solar energy

For the first time, PowerCell S3 stacks will be tested in a marine environment on a vessel that will be equipped with a system that includes onboard production of hydrogen gas from solar power, hydrogen gas storage and two fuel cells. The system, which is equivalent to 80 hp in total, is produced by Swiss Hydrogen, a partner of PowerCell since April 2016, which also undertakes adjustments to the marine environment.

“Hydrogen gas will replace diesel for a marine sector that is obliged to reduce its emissions. The vessel in question will be a mobile showcase to demonstrate the efficiency and reliability of the hydrogen gas technology in marine environments,” says Alexandre Closset, CEO of Swiss Hydrogen SA.

The fuel cells quadruple the vessel’s autonomy and hydrogen gas is a means for the marine industry to achieve a fossil-fuel free energy solution.


Clean and silent electricity generation

During the year, the EU approved a marine project based on PowerCell S3. Together with other members of the MARANDA consortium, PowerCell will develop a fuel cell system to be used on board the Arctic research vessel, Aranda. The system is based on two PowerCell S3 units and is free of vibration, noise and air emissions. It generates electricity to supply the vessel’s electrical equipment and its dynamic positioning during when research data is retrieved. The project started up in the spring of 2017 and is being tested by SYKE Marine Research Centre for a period of 18 months. The partners in the MARANDA consortium include ABB.

“Our fuel cell technology was developed in Gothenburg by our world-leading team and can be used in both marine environments and the automotive industry. These two projects help us to see how a future sustainable society will be able to fulfil the need for marine transport without using fossil fuels”, says Per Wassén.

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