A research project involving Freudenberg e-Power Systems, Meyer Werft shipyard and Royal Caribbean Group is underway to develop a new marine fuel cell system.
This is a multi-year project aiming to create a fuel cell system of an unprecedented scale, which will power Royal Caribbean Group’s ‘Nova’ class ships. It represents a significant step toward achieving a net zero newbuilding.
At its completion, the fuel cell installation is intended to cover the full hotel load of the cruise ship and allow for zero local emissions while in port.
A considerable challenge was posed, however, on the process to convert LNG to usable hydrogen at scale for shipboard use, which has delayed on board implementation.
The partners said they expected that the first maritime demonstrator system will be completed later this year, as work continues towards the full-scale application.
This complex project represents an evolution of how energy is generated and distributed on board, paving the way for a more innovative and sustainable future. The project has achieved successes to evolve the use of fuel cells, including the approval of the maritime safety concept, Meyer Werft said.
“We are bringing the best minds together to develop fuel cells at scale for the cruise industry by piloting the application on a ‘Nova’ class ship and expect to complete the necessary approvals in line with IMO regulations later this year,” said Thomas Weigend, Meyer Werft Managing Director.
“The strategic co-operation between Royal Caribbean, Meyer Werft and Freudenberg e-Power Systems is groundbreaking for emissions reduction in the cruise industry. The combination of fuel cells providing high efficiency and a long lifetime, with Freudenberg’s very powerful battery systems, is tailored to the high demands of the maritime sector,” added Dr Max Kley, CEO of Freudenberg e-Power Systems.
“Innovation is in our DNA and as pioneers in this industry, we comprehend the challenges that come with future proofing any new technology. To ensure seamless functionality and operability, the integration of this complex system in our ships is critical.
“Collaborations such as this advance our sustainability journey and, together with Meyer Werft and Freudenberg, we remain committed to supporting the continued research and development of this cutting-edge technology,” commented Harri Kulovaara, Royal Caribbean’s Executive Vice President, Maritime.
Currently under construction in Papenburg, Germany, ‘Silver Nova’ is set to become one of the most sustainable cruise ships when she enters service.