Skip to main content

ALFA LAVAL-LED  FUEL CELL SYSTEM TAKES SHAPE

ALFA LAVAL-LED FUEL CELL SYSTEM TAKES SHAPE

Monday, April 19, 2021 

An innovative fuel cell system based on high-temperature proton exchange membrane (HTPEM) technology from Blue World Technologies is being constructed for testing at the Alfa Laval Test & Training Centre in Aalborg, Denmark, using methanol as fuel to explore the technology’s potential as a source of marine auxiliary power.

Funded by Danish EUDP (Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program), the project is a joint effort between fuel cell maker Blue World Technologies, Alfa Laval and vessel owners DFDS, Maersk Drilling and Hafnia. The aim of the project is to establish an efficient and cost-effective HTPEM fuel cell solution, giving a realistic alternative to combustion-based auxiliary power within the near future. The fuel cell test setup will have a power of 200kW, but the fully developed and modular design should be possible to scale up incrementally to a level of 5MW.

During a year of planned testing at the Alfa Laval Test & Training Centre, the fuel cell system’s durability and lifetime will be in focus. HTPEM fuel cells have a higher tolerance for thermal cycling than other fuel cell types, which makes them well suited to the variable power production needed from a genset. Nonetheless, the technology will need a lifespan comparable to that of combustion technologies in order to be feasible on board, which will mean addressing various sources of performance degradation.

The fuel cell system, which will provide clean operation with no particulate emissions, will use carbon-neutral renewable methanol as fuel. Methanol is already being used in testing at the Alfa Laval Test & Training Centre. The fuel cell system concept, however, could be possible to adapt for fuels such as LNG and ammonia.

The EUDP-funded project brings together a number of committed and well-established players. Alfa Laval will manage and coordinate the project in addition to supplying the innovation resources of the Alfa Laval Test & Training Centre.

Lars Skytte Jørgensen, Head of Technology Development, Energy Solutions, Alfa Laval Marine Division, said: “Alfa Laval is proud to work with such experienced partners to realize a high-efficiency HTPEM fuel cell system for marine use. Alongside our efforts with solid oxide fuel cells in SOFC4Maritime and the work with methanol combustion already underway at the Alfa Laval Test & Training Centre, this project is a key step in moving the industry into a carbon-neutral fuel landscape.”

Danish company Blue World Technologies is a developer and manufacturer of methanol fuel cell technology, and will supply the fuel cells themselves.

“Building on the scalability of automotive applications, we are convinced that methanol fuel cell systems can drastically reduce maritime climate and environmental impact. By further developing our technology in partnership with marine colleagues, and by ramping up our production capacity at the same time, we can deliver a fuel cell solution that is green, operationally sound and also commercially viable," said Mads Friis Jensen, CCO and Co-founder, Blue World Technologies

Three vessel owners will contribute insights regarding the operational and commercial implementation of the HTPEM fuel cell system. DFDS is actively moving away from fossil fuels and brings experience from other fuel cell projects. Maersk Drilling has a strong focus on energy efficiency and brings experience of using auxiliary power for special applications. Tanker owner Hafnia has a strategy of transitioning to viable future marine fuels and believes strongly in methanol, bringing knowledge of methanol bunkering and operations.

Jakob Steffensen, Innovation Lead, DFDS, said: “Fuel cells have the potential to expedite the green transformation of shipping. The technology will enable a new generation of very simple and reliable ships that will be much easier to digitise than the ships we have today. This will open up for exciting new opportunities.”

Reader Comments (0)

There are currently no comments on this article. Why not be the first and leave your thoughts below.

Leave Your Comment

Please keep your comment on topic, any inappropriate comments may be removed.

Return to index