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Blue World developing methanol fuel cell APU for marine applications

The Danish fuel cell manufacturer Blue World Technologies is developing a methanol fuel cell-powered auxiliary power unit (APU) to replace conventional diesel generators for power supply on board ships.

Blue World Technologies is a developer and manufacturer of high-temperature proton exchange membrane (HT PEM) fuel cells and will start series production in December 2022. The company’s focus on the maritime industry is supported by the Bill Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures, that in August 2022 entered as an investor and completed Blue World’s series-B round of a total of €37 million.

With the decision of extending the company’s activities within development and manufacturing to cover APU systems for marine usage, the company will be able to provide modular APU solutions in the megawatt range for direct integration in new builds as well as retrofits in existing ships.


Blue World methanol fuel cell-based Auxiliary Power Unit. The fuel cells are based on high-temperature PEM technology (operating at 160-180°C) that has a high resistance to impurities—no gas purification is needed on the reformat gas. Unique for the HT PEM fuel cells is the potential for waste heat utilization where part of the waste heat from the fuel cell is used to drive the process of reforming methanol and thereby optimizing the total system efficiency. Furthermore, waste heat can also be used for additional energy recovery.

Especially within the last couple of years, we have seen that the use of renewable methanol as shipping fuel has turned into a global trend, with more and more methanol-driven vessels, cruise ships, and large ocean-going container ships being built. As a provider of auxiliary power units for shipping, Blue World Technologies will support this trend by offering high-power methanol fuel cell solutions with high electrical efficiency, long durability, and low maintenance costs. Combining our core technology with the entire production from components to finished systems, our customers will benefit from our first-hand technological know-how.

—Mads Friis Jensen, Chief Commercial Officer and Co-founder at Blue World Technologies

The methanol fuel cell system of Blue World Technologies can supply the electricity needed on board a ship using a simple and modular cabinet configuration consisting of 200 kW cabinets that combined can provide an energy load in the megawatt range. This means that the energy supply can be tailored to specific customer needs.

To compensate for the green premium of e-fuels such as methanol, the Blue World methanol fuel cell APU system will have an energy efficiency of 45% to 60%. This will lower the operating costs and thereby enable a cost-efficient use of e-fuels.

In addition to net-zero CO2 emissions, the Blue World fuel cells will ensure an operation where no NOx, SOx, and harmful particles are emitted.

In the coming years, Blue World will expand its production capacity and aims for taking a further step into the maritime market with methanol fuel cell systems for propulsion.


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