ABB will deliver the first fuel cell system to provide an energy source for a luxury cruise ship. The system will be piloted on board a Royal Caribbean International vessel. In October 2016, Royal Caribbean announced that its newest class of ships would be powered by LNG and would likely introduce the use of fuel cell technology. (Earlier post.) The ~200,000 gross ton large cruise ships—dubbed Icon class—will be delivered in the second quarters of 2022 and 2024.
The pilot installation, including control, converter and transformer technology from ABB, will generate 100 kW of energy, and has been fully developed, marinized, assembled and tested by ABB Marine & Ports. ABB selected a 100 kW FCvelocity proton exchange membrane (PEM) pure hydrogen fuel cell unit from Ballard Power Systems for the pilot system.
Last year was the first time that mobile power from fuel cells exceeded stationary installations, according to The Fuel Cell Industry Review 2016, and the maritime industry is quickly recognizing the potential of a technology that delivers emissions-free simplicity, maintainability and efficiency.
This pilot installation demonstrates that fuel cell technology is now firmly in sight of the cruise industry. Fuel cells have been the next big thing for 25 years, but now they are reality. At ABB, we believe that the next generations of vessels will be electric, digital and connected. Fuel cell technology matches exactly that. Fuel cells have significantly higher efficiency than combustion engines and allow energy to be concentrated more densely than in petroleum fuels. If you use renewables to produce the hydrogen the entire energy chain is clean and truly emission free.—Juha Koskela, Managing Director, ABB Marine & Ports
The debut installation, which anticipates RCL’s commitment to include emissions-free fuel cell technology as part of the powering for its forthcoming Icon-class ships was on display at the owner’s Technology Display Days event in New York, 8-10 November.
Our goal is to take the smoke out of the smokestacks. We are dedicated to innovation, continuous improvement, and environmental responsibility, and using fuel cell technology gives us the opportunity to deliver against all three of these pillars.—Harri Kulovaara, Executive Vice President of Maritime and Newbuilding, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd