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The Fuel cell boat-A highly innovative research effort seeks to develop and demonstrate the application of new fuel cell technology for the maritime industry to provide a more efficient and ecological source of energy.

fuel cell boat Fuel Cell Boat1

Maritime trade may be one of the oldest forms of transport, yet today cargo transported by the shipping industry represents roughly one-third of the value of total global trade, equating to more than $4.6 trillion worth of goods each year. However, with a greater awareness of the shipping industry’s impact on the environment and the current economic climate dictating a need for more efficient forms of transport, many ships are now considered outdated and great effort has been made in researching alternative power sources.

Fueling the future

The EUREKA-funded FELLOWSHIP project is at the forefront of this research and seeks to develop and demonstrate new fuel cells for marine and offshore use that will vastly improve the energy efficiency of ships, subsequently reducing running costs and the vessels’ impact on the environment. In this collaborative research project including, but not limited to, MTU Onsite Energy and DET NORSKE VERITAS, the FELLOWSHIP team have developed highly innovative HotModule fuel cells that take advantage of recent developments in the fields of Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell (MCFC).

This high temperature fuel cell continuously generates 320kW, with reduced fuel consumption compared to diesel engines and near zero-emissions, vastly improving the ship’s sustainability and the working conditions on-board. The FELLOWSHIP team have used the vessel Viking Lady, a transport ship owned and operated by ship owner Eidesvik for oil from rigs in the Norwegian seas, as a test vehicle for the application of this technology at sea. The HotModule fuel cell is powered by natural gas which is then liquefied and cooled to -161°C.

The fuel cell itself operates at an extremely high temperature, reaching around 600°C in order to instigate the electrochemical process required to generate electricity. The vast amount of heat generated by the cell offers further ecological benefits, as it is used to heat rooms inside the ship, reducing the need for fossil fuels to warm the crew, and can even be used to cool areas through the use of a heat exchanger in order maintain temperature-sensitive cargoes.

While the HotModule fuel cell provides an energy efficiency of 50 per cent while at sea, it is in the harbour that it has its most profound impact. Many harbours now impose strict fines based on pollution, both in terms of waste that is released into the water and their wider impact on the surrounding area. The HotModule fuel cells provides near silent operation when it is used as the sole power source while the vessel is idling in the harbour and can provide all of the electricity required for daily operations, without the need to use the ships diesel engines, which can cause considerable pollution.

A Collaborative approach

This is the first time that this technology has been applied in a marine setting, which has presented some unique challenges for the FELLOWSHIP team, as a moving ship creates a great deal of vibration that the fuel cells were not designed to cope with. While this could be resolved by innovative engineering solutions, FELLOWSHIP encountered another problem in creating and managing an effective partnership, as project coordinator Tomas Tronstad asserts: “You have a fuel cell supplier who is not used to working with moving ships and you have the shipping industry, which needs to understand this new technology. One of the greatest challenges was to get these two parties to understand each other’s needs and requirements” The integration of the system was realised thanks to Wartsila Ship Power.

In order to overcome this issue, the FELLOWSHIP project has developed a highly collaborative approach that recognises the requirements of ship owners, fuel cell suppliers, system integrators and ship designers, and promotes good communication in order to achieve the best solution, whilst also allaying fears about the introduction of this new technology. Tronstad believes that the influence and assistance of EUREKA has played an important role in the success of this collaborative project: “I would like to thank EUREKA for having faith in us. I hadn’t worked with EUREKA before and it has been a pleasure, they were important in supporting us throughout the project both with financial and moral support”.

The FELLOWSHIP partnership is now working to develop industrial-scale battery – hybrid solutions to provide a greater storage capacity for electricity produced by the HotModule fuel cell. This will require further research into the concept to enable the batteries to work with the limitations of the technology, as Tronstad explains: “The current fuel cell doesn’t like to be started and stopped too often. We are developing the solution further into a more standalone system that could more easily be used for a greater number of vessels in the future”. This form of hybrid technology has already proved highly successful in the automotive industry in cars such as the Toyota Prius. The FELLOWSHIP consortium hopes that they can make hybrid ships equally commonplace and are pushing for a greener future for the global shipping industry.

February 15, 2012 - 5:42 PM No Comments

ITM Power Announces Cooperative Agreement with Logan Energy for Hydrogen Energy Projects in Scotland

Cooperation Agreement signed with Logan Energy Limited

ITM Power (AIM: ITM), the energy storage and clean fuel company, announces that it has signed a Cooperation Agreement with Logan Energy Limited for project development and tendering in Scotland.

ITM Power and Logan Energy will jointly tender for hydrogen energy storage and clean fuel projects in Scotland and Logan Energy will undertake all project management and after sales support for any plant installed under the agreement. By signing this agreement the two companies intend to maximise the local supply chain for Scottish projects.

Scotland is a key location for renewable energy having some of the best wind resources in the world. The deployment of energy storage is now seen as key to the effective utilisation of renewable energy plant and will be a critical component of the future energy grid. ITM Power’s electrolysis plant will be a vital component in linking electricity generated from renewable energy sources to the gas grid and the transport fuel infrastructure, and Logan Energy’s experience in delivering integrated systems will be invaluable to the relationship.

ITM Power CEO, Dr. Graham Cooley, commented; “We are very excited about working with Logan Energy in Scotland, a leading integration company in one of the best resourced renewable energy locations in the world. I am sure that the synergies between Logan Energy and ITM Power will reap benefits for both companies.

John Lidderdale, MD of Logan Energy, commented; “We are looking forward to working with ITM Power in Scotland. The necessity for energy storage technology in the renewable energy system means that there will be many opportunities for us to work together immediately and into the future.”

February 15, 2012 - 7:07 AM No Comments

Intelligent Energy announces the appointment of Rian Urding as Chief Executive Officer of IE Low Emission Vans Limited

Loughborough, UK– Intelligent Energy, the global clean power systems company, is delighted to announce the appointment of Rian Urding as Chief Executive Officer of its subsidiary company, IE Low Emission Vans Limited. This joint venture company, of which Intelligent Energy is a majority shareholder, is focused on bringing to market a low emission delivery vehicle. Rian moves from his previous role as Chief Financial Officer at Intelligent Energy, where he oversaw a substantial growth in the business.

IE Low Emission Vans Limited, through its US based subsidiary company, Emerald Automotive, will design and manufacture an all new, light weight, low emission delivery vehicle, planned for global distribution beginning in 2014. Rian will also join the Emerald Automotive management team, which has a wealth of experience in bringing low-volume vehicles to market, as Chief Financial Officer and Board Director.

“The Board and I would like to thank Rian for the fantastic job he has done as Chief Financial Officer of Intelligent Energy over the last five years. We owe him a debt of gratitude for his professionalism, dedication and the very significant contribution he has made to Intelligent Energy’s growth,” said Intelligent Energy Chief Executive, Dr Henri Winand. “Intelligent Energy continues to make tremendous progress on a number of fronts in the field of low emission vehicles, most recently forming a joint venture company with the Suzuki Motor Corporation in Japan to develop and mass manufacture fuel cell systems.”

“After five years in which I have seen Intelligent Energy grow rapidly in terms of turnover, key target markets and its position as a leading clean power systems company, I am delighted to have the opportunity to now lead IE Low Emission Vans while remaining part of the Intelligent Energy family,” commented Rian Urding, Chief Executive Officer of IE Low Emission Vans.


Rian Urding, Chief Executive Officer and Board Director at IE Low Emission Vans Limited, and Chief Financial Officer and Board Director at Emerald Automotive.

About Intelligent Energy
Intelligent Energy is a leading clean power systems company with a globally scalable business, operating in the stationary power, motive and consumer electronics sectors. Our proprietary fuel cell technologies are designed for the mass market products of some of the world’s leading companies. Intelligent Energy’s successes include building the world’s first purpose built fuel cell motorbike, and, with partner Suzuki, the first ever fuel cell vehicle to achieve European Union type approval. Intelligent Energy recently formed a joint venture company in Japan with the Suzuki Motor Corporation to develop and manufacture air-cooled fuel cell systems for a range of industry sectors.

February 15, 2012 - 6:11 AM No Comments