GE’s Power Conversion business and Nedstack, a fuel cell manufacturer, are collaborating to develop hydrogen fuel cell systems for powering zero-emission cruise vessels.
This partnership brings together GE’s expertise in cruise electrical power and propulsion solutions, plus system integration capability, with Nedstack’s experience in megawatt-scale hydrogen fuel cell technology.
“Existing clean power solutions are focused on reducing emissions. Eliminating emissions altogether demands a paradigm shift,” Arnoud van de Bree, Nedstack CEO said. “Hence why GE and Nedstack have been working extensively on the ‘marinisation’ of fuel cell technology to create a total zero-emission alternative that truly meets the needs of tomorrow’s cruise industry.”
“We’re proud to be working with Nedstack on what we believe will be a game changer for the cruise industry,” said Ed Torres, CEO of Marine and O&G, GE’s Power Conversion business. “This partnership brings together a rich pool of expertise that’s spearheading much needed innovation. Given the marine transport and shipping sector’s changing regulatory landscape, this innovation could not be more timely.”
GE and Nedstack plan to use this technology on passenger ships, replacing traditional diesel engines with fuel cells, and HFO with hydrogen.
Thus far, the companies have designed the concept for a 2 MW hydrogen fuel cell power plant on an expedition vessel.
GE’s variable speed electrical drive system is a crucial part of the system that optimises control and efficiency by directing and managing the electricity produced by the hydrogen fuel cells.
Frequently switching fuel cells on and off reduces their life expectancy – and this is a significant issue for vessels. Machine longevity is essential. To overcome this, GE’s variable drive, fuel cell system architecture and dedicated PMS are engineered to limit the switch on-and-off frequency of the fuel cells when sailing or in port.Optimising the system and extending the fuel cells’ lifespan is key to coping with the five-year drydock intervals that cruise ships demand.
“Ships are increasingly being required to shut down their engines in port. We’ve seen this in California, for example, and China has introduced an emission control area in the Yangtse delta. However, the trend is shifting from emissions reduction to total elimination. Achieving this will take deep expertise and innovation – and that’s precisely what this collaboration between GE and Nedstack will deliver,” said Azeez Mohammed, President and CEO, GE’s Power Conversion business.