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#26 - Electric Boating

ABB and Ballard Developing Marine Fuel Cell

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Artist's impression of a fuel cell-powered liner. (Credit: ABB)

Technology company ABB and fuel cell specialist Ballard Power Systems are jointly developing a sustainable, zero-emission fuel cell power plant for shipping—and have the booming cruise industry firmly in their sights.


ABB and Ballard will optimize and expand existing kilowatt-scale fuel cell technologies to create a megawatt-scale solution to power larger ships. The system will have an electrical generating capacity of 3 MW and fit in a single module no bigger than a traditional marine engine.

There is no combustion, fuel is converted directly to electricity, heat, and clean water.

Such proton exchange membrane fuel cells convert chemical energy from hydrogen into electricity through an electrochemical reaction. There is no combustion, fuel is converted directly to electricity, heat, and clean water. With the use of renewables to produce the hydrogen, the entire energy chain can be clean.

NauticExpo e-magazine asked ABB when the first system would be ready to test. Spokeswoman Margarita Sjursen stated: “At present, the main focus is on developing this pioneering technology. The release schedule will be decided on in parallel with the development efforts and will be announced shortly.” Watch a video here:



About the Author

Formerly editor-in-chief of IHS Maritime, Tony Slinn is an independent maritime journalist.

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