Germany sets up fuel cell consortium

Paul Gunton
Paul Gunton
ShipInsight

13 August 2019


A project funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure aims to develop marine fuel cell technology and production.

The MultiSchIBZ research project involves a consortium led by German naval ship specialist Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems and includes OWI (Oel-Waerme-Institut) and TEC4FUELS.

Citing the pollution caused by conventional power systems on ships and the potential for quieter operation in ports, MultiSchIBZ will develop two prototypes of fuel cell systems suitable for practical use to technical maturity.

The system is based on solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) fuel cells which can be operated with low-sulphur diesel fuel or liquefied natural gas (LNG) as an energy source. A fuel gas generator converts the fossil fuel into a hydrogen-rich gas for operating the fuel cells. Compared with conventional propulsion systems using marine diesel as fuel, this is expected to reduce emissions by 99 % for nitrogen oxides and particulate matter and by more than 25 % for carbon dioxide.

The project will draw on two earlier projects making use of the test results and equipment. The aim is to optimise the existing components, which have already been tested in the laboratory, to further develop them for operation with LNG and to scale them up for the construction and operation of pilot plants with higher outputs.

OWI Oel-Waerme-Institut g and TEC4FUELS are also involved as project partners in the system development. The OWI contributes its know-how in the conversion of liquid energy sources and is responsible for the further development of the fuel gas generator, hot gas recirculation and the thermal start-up concept of the overall system. TEC4FUELS is a service provider in the fields of testing and engineering responsible for the development of an online sensor system and a forced test method for the respective operating fluids as well as material investigations that take into account the interactions with the fuel-carrying components.

After the development phase, a demonstration phase is planned in the project, in which several fuel cell APU´s will be tested on ships in real operation.