14/04/2020 – News / Shipping / Marine / Fuel Cell / Technology / Hydrogen / PowerCell / Volvo / Sweden
PowerCell inks deal with leading European shipyard for fuel cell system development
PowerCell Sweden AB – an industrial spinout from the Volvo Group, established in 2008 – has signed a contract with a leading European shipyard regarding the development and delivery of a three-megawatt marine fuel cell system.
The total value of the contract amounts to SEK 77 million (€6.9m), with the system to be developed and delivered over the course of the next three years.
The fuel cell explained
A fuel cell converts chemical energy directly into electrical energy. Fuel cells have a broader field of application than any other available source of energy and can be manufactured for small units that produce only a few watts, right up to major power stations generating megawatts.
A fuel cell generates electrical energy via an electrochemical reaction. The process is similar to a battery, with the difference that a battery consumes its electrodes when they produce electricity and must therefore be discarded or recharged. Fuel cells, on the other hand, produce electrical energy as long as fuel is added in the form of hydrogen and oxygen.
Compared to a combustion engine, which is also powered by a reaction between fuel and oxygen, higher power efficiency is achieved. While the combustion engine’s thermomechanical process means that a large part of the energy is always consumed as heat, the fuel cell’s reaction takes place at a significantly lower temperature. In contrast to the combustion engine, water and heat are the only emissions generated by a fuel cell.
PowerCell Sweden AB develops and produces fuel cell stacks and systems for both stationary and mobile applications, with a world-class energy density.
The fuel cells are powered by hydrogen, pure or reformed, and produce electricity and heat with no emissions other than water. And as the stacks and systems are compact, modular and scalable, they are easily adjusted to any customer need.
In the case of shipping, the application of fuel cell systems has the ability to significantly reduce pollutant emissions from the sector.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has stipulated that emissions of Greenhouse Gases from commercial ships must be halved by 2050. Considering the long lifetime of ships, this means that zero-emission vessels may have to set sail as early as 2030.