Technology company ABB and SINTEF Ocean are undertaking a research to test the viability of fuel cells as an energy source for main ship propulsion.
The new research project seeks to provide answers required for fuel cell technology to be delivered at the scale needed to power commercial and passenger ships.
The testing methodology, to be developed at SINTEF Ocean’s Trondheim-based laboratory, will use two 30kW fuel cells, set up to model the operation and control of a complete marine power system in a megawatt-scale propulsion plant.
The trials will explore more than the technicalities of scaling-up and optimized fuel cell/battery combinations alone.
“Fuel cell technology is maturing quickly. These trials are expected to provide the platform for fuel cells to build on, so that they can take a position in the maritime sector that is competitive with fossil fuels,” Jostein Bogen, product manager for energy storage and fuel cells at ABB Marine & Ports, said.
Another key objective will be establishing how to enhance the control of fuel cell plant in combination with energy storage, and how to optimize efficiency, reliability and the lifetime of fuel cell stacks.
“Research will focus not only on fuel flow and fuel handling, but on what a hydrogen ship bunkering infrastructure might look like,” Kristoffer Dønnestad, R&D engineer, ABB Marine & Ports, Trondheim, said.