Marine Power Applications Portal Page

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    Manufacturer, Systems Integrator
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    Association, Not-For-Profit
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Fuel Cell Markets is proud to be a founding member of:

The Marine Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Association

Hydrogen and fuel cells bring a number of advantages to the marine sector, and are ready for trials and demonstrations in a number of marine applications.

Marine energy systems are intrinsically not connected to electrical grids and need to operate with high reliability for long periods. Fuel cells are highly efficient energy conversion devices that produce clean, silent, reliable power for as long as a fuel is available - with emissions of hot water. Hydrogen is a fuel that can be used to power fuel cells or hydrogen internal combustion engines. Whilst hydrogen gas is not found in nature in its pure form it has the advantage that it can be generated locally by electrolysing water. Electricity is required to power this process and if the electricity comes from renewable sources such as solar energy or wind power, the hydrogen produced is a 100% renewable zero-carbon fuel. This fuel can be stored to produce completely renewable power-on-demand. Hydrogen can also be produced by reforming (separating it from) hydrocarbon fuels like natural gas, propane, or even diesel.

Applications and advantages of Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies in the Marine environment:

  • Storing energy for power on demand - Storing intermittent renewable energy (wind, solar or tidal) as hydrogen fuel for conversion back into electricity as and when required.
  • Baseload power for stationary vessels Fuel cell technologies can be used to provide considerably quieter and cleaner energy (electrical, cooling and heat) for stationary ships in port. This helps to reduce coastal pollution, reduce noise pollution to the local community, reduce the use of onboard fuel supplies and potentially provide cheaper energy.
  • Reduced dependence on fossil fuels Fuel cells can either make existing fossil fuels last longer (due to their high efficiency) or utilise renewable low emission fuels like hydrogen.
  • Battery charging For smaller vessels fuel cells can be used as more environmentally friendly and quieter battery chargers. Batteries can be charged 24 hrs a day without causing noise disturbances.
  • Primary power There are already a number of projects around the world where hydrogen powered fuel cells are being used to provide primary power for small recreational vessels. Ideal applications for these vehicles include waterways with high pollution or noise restrictions.
  • Backup power / emergency power Fuel cells can be used to provide reliable backup power that will last as long as there is available fuel. This can be used to power emergency systems, refrigeration and navigational equipment.

Why the need for change?

  • Rising Fuel Prices With the increasing demand for fossil fuels and the decline in supplies, all industries need to look forward to adopting technologies that reduce and ultimately eliminate their dependence on these fuels.
  • Climate Change With increasing concern over the effects of burning fossil fuels on the world climate from governments, industry and individuals, there is an increasing need to change the way we produce and utilise our energy
  • Ocean Pollution - The majority of ocean pollution occurs within a very short distance from the shore and can largely be attributed to vessels using polluting technologies whilst stationary.
  • Waterway Pollution There are ever increasingly tighter restrictions on pollution caused by fossil fuel engines in inland waterways. Some lakes and rivers have even banned or placed heavy restrictions on motor boats to combat the problem.
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