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PowerCell, Siemens to partner on development of marine fuel cell systems; integration into BlueDrive

PowerCell Sweden AB has signed a memorandum of understanding with the German industrial group Siemens AG to enter into a partnership in order to drive forward the integration of fuel cell modules in shipping.

The aim of the collaboration is to develop an energy supply system for vessels which is based on fuel cells. Siemens will supply the SISHIP BlueDrive integrated energy and propulsion system into which PowerCell will install its fuel cell modules.

The SISHIP BlueDrive integrated energy and propulsion system is based on a fully integrated energy distribution in which the main control panel and all drives are contained in a single, compact unit. Various sub-assemblies can be flexibly and easily connected to the energy supply in ships.

The batteries being increasingly used in ferries in recent years have paved the way for this development.

The next stage is to extend the energy supply concept to include fuel cells—which are characterized by high efficiency and pollution-free operation. They are low-noise and are based on the almost unlimited availability of water as a resource. The fuel cells will be supplied by PowerCell Sweden AB.

Possible joint projects could include energy supply systems for ferries, yachts, cruise ships and research vessels.

PowerCell and Siemens will jointly develop a fuel cell-based system that can be integrated into ships such as ferries, yachts and cruise ships.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set a target to reduce the emissions from commercial shipping with 50% by 2050, which will require a substantial decrease in the use of fossil fuels. In June, a power generating system based on PowerCell’s fuel cell stacks and developed by PowerCell’s Norwegian joint venture Hyon, received the first approval in principle for a fuel cell-based power generating system for marine vessels.

In large segments of the marine industry a rapid transition has already started, with increased electrification and decreased use of fossil fuels as strong trends. If commercial shipping is to meet the IMO target, and seriously take on the challenge that the climate change poses, large sections of it has to convert to much more sustainable solutions. Fuel cells are a very promising alternative and Siemens and PowerCell see a great potential for the cooperation we are now entering into.

—Per Wassén, CEO of PowerCell

PowerCell was founded in 2008 as an industrial spinout from the Volvo Group.


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