ABB works on megawatt-scale fuel cells for large ships

ABB and Hydrogène de France seek to jointly manufacture megawatt-scale fuel cell systems capable of powering ocean-going vessels. The two companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to this effect.

The agreement envisages a close collaboration on the assembly and production of a megawatt-scale fuel cell power plant for marine applications. It builds on an existing collaboration announced on June 27, 2018, with Ballard Power Systems, a provider of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell solutions.

The new system will be based on the megawatt-scale fuel cell power plant jointly developed by ABB and Ballard and will be manufactured at Hydrogène de France’s new facility in Bordeaux, France.

Hydrogen into electricity

Fuel cells turn the chemical energy from hydrogen into electricity through an electrochemical reaction. With the use of renewables to produce the hydrogen, the entire energy chain can be clean.

‘With the ever-increasing demand for solutions that enable sustainable, responsible shipping, we are confident that fuel cells will play an important role in helping the marine industry meet CO2 reduction targets,’ said Juha Koskela, Managing Director, ABB Marine & Ports. ‘Signing the MOU with HDF brings us a step closer to making this technology available for powering ocean-going vessels.’

Among alternative emission-free technologies, ABB is already well advanced in collaborative development of fuel cell systems for ships. Fuel cells are widely considered as one of the most promising solutions for reducing harmful pollutants. Already today, this zero-emission technology is capable of powering ships sailing short distances, as well as supporting auxiliary energy requirements of larger vessels.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.