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ABB, Hydrogène de France jointly to manufacture megawatt-scale fuel cell systems capable of powering ocean-going vessels

ABB has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Hydrogène de France to manufacture jointly megawatt-scale fuel cell systems capable of powering ocean-going vessels (OGVs). The MOU between ABB and hydrogen technologies specialist Hydrogène de France (HDF) envisages close collaboration on the assembly and production of the fuel cell power plant for marine applications.


Building on an existing collaboration announced on 27 Jun 2018 with Ballard Power Systems, the leading global provider of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell solutions, ABB and HDF intend to optimize fuel cell manufacturing capabilities to produce a megawatt-scale power plant for marine vessels. The new system will be based on the megawatt-scale fuel cell power plant jointly developed by ABB and Ballard, and will be manufactured at HDF’s new facility in Bordeaux, France.

With the use of renewables to produce the hydrogen, the entire energy chain can be clean.

HDF is very excited to cooperate with ABB to assemble and produce megawatt-scale fuel cell systems for the marine market based on Ballard technology.

—Damien Havard, CEO of HDF

With the ever-increasing demand for solutions that enable sustainable, responsible shipping, we are confident that fuel cells will play an important role in helping the marine industry meet CO2 reduction targets. Signing the MOU with HDF brings us a step closer to making this technology available for powering ocean-going vessels.

—Juha Koskela, Managing Director, ABB Marine & Ports

With shipping responsible for about 2.5% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions, there is an increased pressure for the maritime industry to transition to more sustainable power sources. The International Maritime Organization, a United Nations agency responsible for regulating shipping, has set a global target to cut annual emissions by at least 50% by 2050 from 2008 levels.

Among alternative emission-free technologies, ABB is already well advanced in collaborative development of fuel cell systems for ships. Fuel cells are widely considered as one of the most promising solutions for reducing harmful pollutants. Already today, this zero-emission technology is capable of powering ships sailing short distances, as well as supporting auxiliary energy requirements of larger vessels.

ABB’s eco-efficiency portfolio, which enables sustainable smart cities, industries and transport systems to mitigate climate change and conserve non-renewable resources, accounted for 57% of total revenues in 2019. The company is on track to reach 60% of revenues by the end of 2020.



This may change my view about FC tech being feasible for long range shipping applications. ABB and Hydrogène de France will be building multi-megawatt size power plants that can power large ships (HDF achieved a world first in 2019 in Martinique on the ClearGen project with the installation and commissioning of a high-powered fuel cell - 1 MW).
The only question is how to store the H2 onboard, definitely not high pressure tanks.
The answer looks like either ammonia or a liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC).
LOHC may be the easiest. Hydrogenious in France and Chiyoda in Japan already have demonstrated the technology.
LOHC can be handled similar to current liquid fuels and a compact dehydrogenation facility on the ship can supply the hydrogen (check out page 10 on this presentation,


Correction: Hydrogenious is a German company based in Erlangen.


I would use LNG/SOFC.


Building on an existing collaboration announced on 27 Jun 2018 with Ballard Power Systems, the leading global provider of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell solutions
So these ocean-going vessels will be powered by PEM fuel cells. Unfortunately, there is no reference to the hydrogen storage method used. LOHC would be great because it has no pressure or cold vessels. Two companies are looking into powering ships with LOHC: Hydrogenious and H2-Industries. However, there are fairly high energy losses (30%) associated with the endothermic dehydrogenation process. (Reference:,-no-chill)
One clue may come from partner ABB website "Hydrogen on the high seas: welcome aboard!" (
They mention liquid hydrogen and point out that " the basic principles are the same for LNG (liquefied natural gas) or other low flashpoint fuels. We already know how to handle liquid gas, so the technology is broken in. The real challenge now is developing the infrastructure.”


The experience that I've gained the past several years driving a BEV is unparalleled. The only maintenance incurred were as prescribed by the OEM and worn tires. Absolutely no comparison to an ICE drive. I've had to pay more attention to the expiring range after a charging session to avoid subsequent trouble which I never encountered. However, I would sincerely welcome a range increase of 2 to 3x of what is presently achievable. The simplicity, quietness and efficiency of an electric drive is simply utterly unbeatable compared to an ICE. After a car wash, an ICE still stinks during operation; a BEV never does - neither before nor afterwards.
I don't need an ICE. I think it has done its job and more than sufficient damage. Just let it die and make room for a more than proper replacement. RIP ICE

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