Successful testing of methanol-fueled HT-PEM fuel cell system paves the way for scale-up at the Alfa Laval Test & Training Center
Alfa Laval is the driving force in a marine fuel cell development project exploring the potential of high-temperature proton exchange membrane (HT-PEM) fuel cells using methanol as fuel as a source of marine auxiliary power.
Funded by Danish EUDP (Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program), the project is a joint effort between fuel cell maker Blue World Technologies, Alfa Laval and vessel owners DFDS, Maersk Drilling and Hafnia. (Earlier post.)
In the first step, a 10 kW (2 x 5 kW) installation has been running at the Alfa Laval Test & Training Center since July. Based on positive test results, the project is on track for a 200 kW installation. Ultimately, it will provide the marine industry with a scalable energy supply that does not involve combustion.
Alfa Laval Test & Training Center.
We are pleased with the progress in the HT-PEM fuel cell system project. Although this first installation is small, it allows us to test the basic setup and the function of the supporting equipment. The data compiled so far is very promising, which suggests that we can move into the next stage as planned.—Alfa Laval’s Jeroen van Riel, Business Development Manager, Marine Energy Systems
The fuel cell system in development, which will provide clean operation with no particulate emissions, uses carbon-neutral renewable methanol. It comprises modules of HT-PEM fuel cell stacks that can be combined in racks of 200 kW, creating a standardized, scalable system for many megawatts of power. Alfa Laval is responsible for the overall system infrastructure, as well as the distribution systems needed to support the fuel cells.
The modular fuel cell system includes a methanol reformer for fuel conversion, DC/DC for power conversion and fuel cell stack for power production.
In the current phase of testing, two modules containing one fuel cell stack each are being run with the distribution systems. The operational data will then be used to fine-tune the 200 kW module and rack setup.
The project will lead to an integrated, safe and marine-certified product for application on tomorrow’s green ships. Within the near future, it will offer a realistic alternative to combustion-based auxiliary power on board.—Jeroen van Riel