Lürssen is building its first yacht with fuel cell technology for a pioneering and technology driven client.
The fuel cell is flanking the conventional generators and is a big step to an emission free Lürssen yacht. This innovative technology makes it possible to anchor emission-free for 15 days or cruise 1000 miles at slow speed.
In the meantime Lürssen sets-up an Innovation Laboratory to simulate and test the integration and operation of a Marine Hybrid Fuel Cell System on board a yacht powered by methanol. Since 2005 Lürssen has been involved in research projects aimed at using fuel cells on ships in order to advance sustainable shipbuilding. Since 2009 Lürssen is partner in the national research project which is called PaXell. In addition to Lürssen the other partners are: Besecke, Carnival Maritime, DLR, DNV, EPEA, Freudenberg and Meyer Werft. The aim is the development and testing of a hybrid energy system with a new generation of PEM fuel cells for yachts and seagoing passenger vessels.
Lürssen has committed to a strategic partnership with Freudenberg, one of the leading experts for maritime fuel cells and a global technology group with around 48.000 employees in 60 countries. Lürssen’s and Freudenberg’s concept is a fuel cell driven by hydrogen which is continuously reformed from methanol. The choice of methanol rather than elemental hydrogen has been made due to its higher energy density, the simplicity of handling and easy world wide availability. But most important, methanol can be stored in structural tanks in the double bottom of a yacht in contrast to pressurized or liquefied hydrogen which requires valuable space above the tank top and extensive tank structures.
Methanol is an important base material for the chemical industry and has been an option to be used as clean fuel for decades. When produced from renewable sources like by CO2 capturing from the atmosphere, methanol, is completely climate-neutral. Due to the low dynamic capability of fuel cells the system layout and the combination with other energy converters and storages is the key for a successful fuel cell power system. The yacht, which is currently under construction, will be able to stay more than 15 days at anchor with the night time power supply being a zero emission mode. And the yacht can reach more than 1000 miles slow cruising with zero emission.
Thanks to the modular construction the methanol fuel cell system can be adjusted to a customized yacht to keep space requirements and costs as low as possible and the total efficiency of the system as high as possible. Fuel cells cause almost no noise or vibrations, need only minor maintenance and are more efficient than diesel engines. But most important emissions like nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, soot and even CO2 can be avoided when green methanol is used.
The research and development project Pa-X-ell (which stands for a combination of acronyms Pax (= Passengers) with Cells (= Fuel Cells) is part of the e4ships cluster and supported by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital infrastructure within the framework of the National innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology. The funding guideline is coordinated by NOW GmbH and implemented by Project Management Jülich (PtJ).