Prospects for ship propulsion by fuel cell are being explored by ABB and SINTEF Ocean. Two Hydrogenics 30 kWSource: SINTEFSource: SINTEF proton exchange membrane fuel cells will be used to assess the operation and control of a megawatt-scale propulsion system at SINTEF’s Trondheim, Norway, facility, where vessel simulators and ABB software will test different load profiles and diesel/battery/fuel cell combinations.

"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," said Jostein Bogen, product manager for energy storage and fuel cells at ABB Marine & Ports. "Finding unknowns and coping with them in a controlled environment, rather than risking surprises on board ship will be central to these trials."

Hydrogen fuel flow and handling, optimization of fuel cell performance in combination with energy storage and requirements for a hydrogen ship bunkering infrastructure are also areas of research interest.

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