Advancements And Challenges In Marine Fuel Cell Technology


The week saw significant updates in the development of alternative marine fuels, particularly hydrogen fuel cells, which hold the potential to reduce emissions in the shipping industry drastically. Despite progress, major hurdles remain before these technologies power large ocean-going vessels.

Current Progress in Fuel Cell Development

Hydrogen fuel cell technology is advancing, with companies like Genevos and TECO 2030 making strides. Genevos received approval for its 250-kilowatt proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell system, while TECO 2030 achieved 100% stable power capacity in trials. These developments showcase the potential for zero-emission marine propulsion using hydrogen.

Barriers to Widespread Adoption

Despite technological advancements, hydrogen fuel cells face significant obstacles. Due to high storage costs, PEM fuel cells require a constant hydrogen supply, making them impractical for long-distance voyages. Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), which are more efficient, are still in the early development stages. A study by the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping predicts that high costs will prevent fuel cells from replacing combustion engines shortly.

Initiatives Supporting Hydrogen and Green Methanol

Efforts to support hydrogen adoption include MAN Cryo’s hydrogen fuel supply system design for Norwegian ferry operator Torghatten Nord. Additionally, AD Ports Group, Transmar, and Orascom Construction plan to build a green methanol storage and export facility in Egypt. These initiatives aim to meet the growing demand for green fuels and support the transition to sustainable maritime operation.

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Source: ENGINE