Advent Technologies Holdings has announced that its fuel cell unit for the maritime sector – developed within the frame of the RiverCell Consortium – has passed safety testing, as well as a safety assessment completed by DNV.
RiverCell, a demonstration project supported by a consortium of partners, was initiated in 2015 and is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
The project is dedicated to the design and development of a fuel cell hybrid system for inland vessels, and its realisation has provided valuable insights in terms of the suitability, practical use, and economic efficiency of hybrid powertrains. In addition to cutting greenhouse gas emissions, the hybrid concept – featuring energy storage combined with sustainable fuel cell-powered energy production – demonstrated an increase to both safety and efficiency in shipping.
As part of the demonstration, a section of a river cruise vessel was set up on dryland at Neptun Werft, in Rostock, Germany. There, the prototype of Advent’s Serene marine fuel cell unit was successfully integrated into a modern hybrid DC electric energy grid, which was equipped with all relevant ship systems, including battery storage as well as a conventional diesel genset.
The project is funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport and led by Meyer Werft. It consists of a range of experienced partners throughout the maritime sector, including DNV, HADAG, Helm Proman Methanol, Neptun Werft, Pella Sietas, Technische Universität Berlin, Viking River Technical Cruises, and Advent.
With current regulations still based on the traditional use of diesel-powered energy sources, another core objective of the demonstrations has been to encourage the development of new global regulatory frameworks for the shipping sector, thus paving the way for future use of sustainable technologies.
RiverCell’s project manager, Ragnar Christenson from Meyer Werft, stated: “The maritime industry needs to find new ways to reduce all its emissions. Not only in the long run, but starting immediately, the shipping industry needs to deploy sustainable technologies and in particular speed up the change to renewable fuel sources. By RiverCell, we have demonstrated how fuel cell technology can be a safe, clean and efficient alternative to today’s diesel gensets in marine use. We have also been able to demonstrate how hydrogen for fuel cells, in the form of methanol, can be safely and efficiently stored on ships. The HT PEM fuel cells developed and manufactured by Advent Technologies can use methanol, carrier of hydrogen, as the fuel source, and we consider methanol one of the most promising and practical future fuels for the shipping sector. At Meyer Werft, we are happy to pioneer alongside our partners with our demonstrations of fuel cell technology, both to gain a competitive edge but also to influence global standards, paving the way for this sustainable alternative.”
Advent’s senior vice president, Morten Hougaard Sørensen, similarly highlighted the importance of the project and its potential influence on future standards: “Fuel cell technologies to replace diesel gensets for inland and sea-going vessels will significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Using methanol produced from natural gas offers reduction of local pollution (NOx, SOx emissions), and methanol produced from renewable sources can substantially contribute to reducing GHG emissions from shipping. In recent years, interest in methanol as a fuel for the shipping industry has grown significantly, but the industry is also waiting for the final regulatory frameworks to come into place before committing to large-scale investments. Now, with our prototype design of the marine fuel cell unit successfully passing its safety testing, and the safety assessment successfully completed with DNV, we hope to see this data included alongside equivalent standards using the technology, so the industry understands that fuel cells are both efficient, safe, and practical in use. And on that basis, we look forward to continuing our journey with Meyer Werft and lots of new customers in the industry. At Advent, we believe that only together can we build a better future”.