Both companies want to further boost to the electrification of the maritime sector. Thereby, operators of ships can meet the increasing requirements for the clean operation of their ships. Building on systems with a power in the kW range, ABB and Ballard will develop new technologies to provide fuel cells for the MW range required to power large ships. Initially, a plant with a capacity of 3 MW (4,000 hp) is planned. The entire fuel cell-based module should not be larger than a conventional internal combustion engine for ships.
"The rapidly developing market offers good growth opportunities for zero-emission fuel cell technology. We are letting our extensive experience in the field of fuel cell systems for use on land, whose size corresponds to a container and which is based on PEM fuel cell technology, flow into the development of new systems for ships," says Rob Campbell, Chief Commercial Officer of Ballard Power Systems.
There are various fields of application for fuel cells on ships. For example, they can provide the energy for hotel operation when the ship is in port. They can also be used directly for propulsion. Initially, ABB and Ballard intend to concentrate on systems for use in passenger ships.