ABB (Marine) and Ballard Power systems have signed an MOU to integrate fuel cells into passenger cruise ships.  ABB’s task will be integrate Ballard’s current kilowatt-scale PEM fuel cells into a 3 megawatt (4000 HP) system that still fits within the same area as traditional marine engines.

The MOU builds on an earlier test in 2017 with Royal Caribbean and is another signal supporting the cleaning up of the global marine vessel industry.  While battery powered systems are being tested for short haul ferries, it is hydrogen fuel cells that will likely dominate the market transition for larger, long haul vessels.

Decarbonization the Marine Industry
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) estimates the marine industry’s impact as 2.2% of global CO2 emissions.  In April 2018, the United Nations and International Maritime Organization (IMO) signaled the industry would lower emissions from container ships, oil tankers, bulk carriers by 50 percent by the year 2050 from 2008.  The European Union has set more ambitious targets to cut marine vessel emissions by 70%.

“The next generation of ships – electric, digital and connected – will require energy sources that are not only able to meet the increasing demands for fuel efficiency, but will also enable cleaner and safer shipping,” said Peter Terwiesch, president ABB’s Industrial Automation division. “We are excited to collaborate with Ballard Power Systems on driving the development of the next-generation fuel cell technology that will power the vessels of the future.”

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