'Smooth operation' with fuel cells

Research paper highlights findings from research projects on new technological developments.

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Updated on 05 Sep 2012 11:36 GMT

With rising fuel prices and impending environmental regulations, the pressure is on for more efficient and environmentally friendly ships. DNV Research and Innovation has taken a leading role in facilitating the demonstration of safe and reliable fuel cell applications for ships. In the joint industry project, FellowSHIP, a 330 kW fuel cell was successfully installed, and demonstrated 'smooth operation' for more than 7000 hours on board the offshore supply vessel Viking Lady.

Fuel cell technology of this magnitude has never before been installed in a merchant vessel, and the project is innovative on a global scale. The achievements of the project include significantly reduced CO2 emissions, improved energy efficiency and zero emissions of harmful substances compared to conventional engine technology.

This recent success with fuel cell technology indicates that it is possible to lower the contribution from shipping to global warming. Introducing fuel cells to ships benefit human health and the environment by avoiding local consequences of air pollution. It can even completely eliminate CO2 emission if hydrogen from renewables becomes available.

According to DNVs expert on the field, Researcher Eirik Ovrum, fuel cells can have a viable future within shipping. "DNV has paved the way for safe and smooth introduction of fuel cells for ships. We recognize that it will take time before fuel cells can become a realistic on-board alternative, mostly restricted by costs, but the FellowSHIP project has taken some important first steps towards a future for fuel cells on ships."

Although fuel cell technology is not new, this recent success means that it has become relevant to discuss the potential for fuel cells in shipping, as done in the present position paper from DNV.

"Research and innovation is a cornerstone in DNV and a key competitive factor that enables us to be on the forefront of new technological developments and provide high quality services to our customers. DNV invests 6% of its revenue in research and development activities. 1% of the revenue is dedicated to strategic research with a long-term focus. A key aspect of the strategic research is to identify main technology and risk management trends. Another is to develop new competences and services for the future.

"Knowledge sharing is core to our success. A position Paper from DNV Research and Innovation is intended to highlight findings from our research programs. While some of these projects find solutions to specific technological challenges, others aim to share best engineering practices or to develop new global standards. In DNV we firmly believe that technology is a vital part of the solution for many of the global challenges facing us today. We are pleased to offer our technical capabilities, research and innovation to ensure a steady course towards a safe and sustainable future," DNV said.

Image: Viking Lady