The Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) is supporting the development of a powerful large-scale fuel cell system for maritime shipping with around 15.6 million euros in total. The innovative and climate-friendly technology will be tested in practice on board a cruise ship.

Federal Minister Dr. Volker Wissing: “Shipping is to become climate-neutral by 2050. As the federal government, we support the shipping sector in further developing innovative technologies for this purpose. German companies are already setting the pace of this evolution. Having already developed the world’s first fuel cell plant of its kind on a cruise ship in Germany through the funding provided by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport, we are now forging ahead with the massive upscaling of the technology for real operating conditions.”

Kurt-Christoph von Knobelsdorff, CEO NOW GmbH: “Fuel consumption and emissions in shipping can be considerably reduced using energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly fuel cell systems. There is enormous potential for their use to cover the high hotel loads that are generated by cruise ships. Once installed, the systems can also be flexibly and increasingly supplied by renewable energies. A large-scale fuel cell system, like the one that will be developed by the HyCruisE project, is therefore a sensible and logical step towards climate-friendly shipping.”

In the ‘HyCruisE’ research and development project, the companies Freudenberg e-Power Systems and MEYER WERFT GmbH & Co. KG have set the objective of further developing a new kind of PEM (polymer electrolyte membrane) fuel cell system with integrated reformer technology for the bridging fuel, LNG, or renewable gases, so-called synthetic natural gas (SNG). On the basis of development activities, an upscaled large-scale fuel cell system in the megawatt range will be constructed and tested for the first time. The ‘HyCruise’ project will be funded by the BMDV under the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP).

To put the large-scale ‘HyCruisE’ system into practice, a new reformer technology for the efficient on board manufacture of reformed hydrogen must be developed on the one hand, and a fuel cell technology suitable for heavy loads has to be upscaled on the other. This will be manifested in the form of highly integrated mechanical and thermal individual systems in the 500 kW power class. Based on their modular integration capability, these individual systems will be integrated into a large-scale fuel cell system on board a Silversea Cruises cruise ship and tested in real world operation. In future, the large-scale fuel cell system will supply the entire hotel operation of the ship. Electrical and thermal integration as well as innovative safety technology for fuel cell systems with LNG or SNG on board passenger ships will also be the focus of development activities.

The NIP is coordinated by NOW GmbH and implemented by Project Management Jülich (PtJ).


Image source: Freudenberg e-Power Systems GmbH