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Germany christens first ship to be powered by methanol fuel cell

29 Aug 2017 14:23 GMT

Fuel cell uses methanol to produce electricity on the vessel and supplies a battery-backed electric motor.



Germany's first ship to be powered by a methanol fuel cell was christened in a formal ceremony on Essen's Lake Baldeney last week.

The power of the new ship, named the MS innogy, is generated in Lake Baldeney via the hydroelectric plant on the River Weir. Carbon dioxide is filtered from the surrounding air and converted into methanol with the aid of electricity and water in a two-by-two-meter-high installation. A fuel cell then uses the methanol to produce electricity on the vessel and supplies a battery-backed electric motor.

The entire process is said to be carbon neutral and therefore not negatively impact the climate.

While in operation, the engine of the vessel only releases the amount of carbon dioxide that is filtered from the air for the production of methanol.

The company behind the process, Essen-based energy company Innogy, is already a leading solution provider for electric mobility in Germany and Europe. Passenger cars can already be driven electrically without any difficulty; however, in many areas of logistics - involving ships, trucks and aircraft - Innogy says the process "will take a relatively long time" until they can also be operated purely by electricity.

Innogy therefore sees its solution as an interim one to reduce climate-damaging emissions in the transport sector quickly and efficiently.

The methanol project is being presented as part of the European Union's "Green Capital of Europe - Essen 2017", which covers the production of methanol using renewables to its use in a fuel cell on an excursion vessel.

Peter Terium, CEO of innogy SE, said: "With MS innogy we are enabling people to experience the energy revolution directly. We obtain high-tech research from the lab and show in a very practical way what a clean energy future without oil could look like, and that includes quiet, clean propulsion systems that conserve our climate.

"The new MS innogy is the energy revolution that you can touch. However, it is also proof that we have the right strategy at innogy to find an alternative to oil as quickly as possible, by producing green fuels such as methanol with renewable energy and using them to drive environmentally friendly ships, aircraft and heavy goods transport."

Thomas Kufen, Mayor of the City of Essen, remarked: "The fact that the new vessel will be used by [vessel operator] Weisse Flotte Baldeney GmbH in the Green Capital year pleases me for several reasons: Each year around 100,000 guests use the services of the Weisse Flotte. The vessels of the Weisse Flotte are therefore a tourist attraction for our city which will now become even more attractive.

"With this innovative project, Essen-based Innogy SE is chartering new territory across Europe. Water, CO2 from the air and green power combine to form a climate-neutral energy source. These provide the ideal basis for a success story."

The christening of the M/S innogy - Germany's first ship to be powered by a methanol fuel cell.






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