The Path to Zero: ABB, Ballard Progress Work on High-power Fuel Cell Concept
ABB and Ballard are progressing to decarbonize marine transport and have received an AiP from DNV for their high-power fuel cell concept, the development of which was launched in 2018.
The high-power fuel cell unit is designed to be a flexible solution that will support the energy needs of a diverse range of vessels requiring multiple 3 MW blocks of power. A cruise vessel operating in coastal areas could either run entirely on fuel cell power or switch to it when operating in environmentally sensitive areas or emission control zones, while a ferry with a regular schedule and frequent bunkering opportunities could operate solely on fuel cell power. For ocean going vessels, fuel cell power could support auxiliary needs. The concept of the solution also envisions the integration with an energy storage system.
Fuel cells turn the chemical energy from hydrogen into electricity through an electrochemical reaction. When renewables are used to produce the hydrogen, the entire energy chain can be clean. Having a larger, megawatt-scale power unit makes it feasible to combine units to reach much higher total power than is practically possible with smaller power units.