Maritime’s First Methanol-to-Fuel Cell Power Chain

PARTNERING FOR A NET-ZERO FUTURE

Bringing new technology to the maritime sector needs teamwork, rigorous testing, and ambition – especially when you are developing sustainable solutions at a scale never seen before. All three were present when, together with e1 Marine, Maritime Partners and RIX Industries, we successfully completed a string test of our respective technologies, simulating a 200 kW propulsion chain for methanol to hydrogen power.

As part of the test, the partners took methanol as a fuel and converted it to hydrogen before using the hydrogen in a fuel cell to generate power cleanly and efficiently – testing the system that will be present on the M/V Hydrogen One, the world’s first methanol-fueled towboat.

The concept unlocks new opportunities for hydrogen-powered vessels by storing the fuel as methanol, which is less complex than using hydrogen tanks. The conversion technology then transforms the methanol into fuel cell-ready methanol.

The system is the first of its kind and is most suitable for tugboats, towboats, pushboats and superyachts.

Richard Berkling
CEO, PowerCell Group

“The successful completion of these tests gives future ship owners, integrators and methanol suppliers the confidence they need in this powerful combination of technologies. Fuel cells are some of the most efficient ways to extract energy from fuel, and we are deploying them at a scale never seen before. This can be seen in our project with Torghatten Nord, where we will supply 12,8 MW fuel cells on Norway’s longest ferry route – the largest maritime project to date. This string test demonstrates that whatever the fuel, the new generation of fuel cells is ready to use it.”

Robert Schluter
Managing Director, e1Marine

“This rigorous test has delivered exciting results thanks to a great deal of collaboration between equipment suppliers, and the results should be a cause for optimism across the industry. This test demonstrates that a methanol-to-hydrogen power chain is ready and waiting to deliver renewable power to a range of maritime applications.”

Austin Sperry
President and Co-Founder,
Maritime Partners, LLC

“We, too, are pleased by the results and system validation, allowing the M/V Hydrogen One to hit the water in 2024.”

A HYDROGEN FUEL CELL SYSTEM FOR MARITIME

At PowerCell Group, we have developed a megawatt-scale hydrogen fuel cell solution for the maritime sector, which is fully marinised and adapted to the challenges of usage onboard ships. Our fuel cells use hydrogen to generate power as this is the most energy-efficient method of extracting power from fuels. This would be one of the most effective means of using green methanol, produced from renewable energy, to enable a fully zero-carbon fuel.

The successful test physically connected all the equipment that comprises the propulsion chain, putting the system through its paces in the same conditions it will experience at sea. The test examined crucial criteria, such as verifying power output performance, developing fuel cell efficiency data for the entire range of operation, confirming minimum continuous operating load and simulating emergency shutdown procedures.