PowerCell To Retrofit Research Vessel Prince Madog With Hydrogen Fuel Cells

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  • PowerCell has secured an order to supply two 100 kW marine fuel cell systems to O.S. Energy for retrofitting the research vessel Prince Madog with a hydrogen-electric hybrid propulsion system.
  • Supported by the UK Department for Transport’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, the retrofit aims to reduce the vessel’s emissions by up to 60%, setting a precedent for sustainable maritime technology.
  • The project underscores the readiness of fuel cell technology for wider adoption in smaller commercial and leisure vessels.

PowerCell has signed an order to supply two 100 kW marine fuel cell systems to O.S. Energy for the Transship II sustainable vessel project. This marks a significant expansion of PowerCell’s offerings into smaller commercial and leisure vessels, showcasing the readiness of hydrogen-electric solutions for broader uptake.

Transforming the Prince Madog

The initiative focuses on retrofitting the research vessel Prince Madog with a hydrogen-electric hybrid propulsion system. Scheduled for completion in early 2025, with a demonstration in March 2025, the project aims to demonstrate the potential for sustainable propulsion in the maritime industry. Supported by the UK Department for Transport through the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition Round 3 (CMDC3), this pioneering £5.5 million initiative is expected to reduce the vessel’s emissions by up to 60%.

Leadership in Sustainable Maritime Technology

Richard Berkling, CEO of PowerCell, expressed pride in being at the forefront of sustainable maritime technology. He highlighted that their marine fuel cell systems offer numerous benefits over traditional diesel gensets, including zero emissions, silent operation, and exceptional reliability. These systems have the same footprint as conventional solutions, ensuring easy integration into existing vessel designs.

Martin Nuernberg, Managing Director of O.S. Energy (UK), emphasized the significance of this partnership in demonstrating the potential of hydrogen technology to transform the maritime industry. He noted that the Prince Madog retrofit is a critical step in their commitment to innovation and environmental responsibility.

Broader Impact and Future Potential

While large ocean-going ships account for 85% of the maritime industry’s carbon footprint, smaller vessels, making up the remaining 15%, are ready for decarbonization now. According to the International Maritime Organization, these smaller vessels emit approximately 150 million tonnes of carbon annually. Fuel cells convert chemical energy directly into electrical energy, offer a quiet and efficient alternative to traditional combustion engines, reducing underwater radiated noise (URN) in sensitive marine ecosystems.

The Transship II project, the largest retrofit of its kind, involves a consortium of major UK innovators in green maritime technology and hydrogen systems. It aims to enable zero to low-emission operation of the Prince Madog in 2025, setting a model for sustainable marine research and operations.

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Source: powercellgroup