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ABB brings hydrogen fuel-cell technology a step closer to powering large ships

| By Mary Bailey

ABB (Zurich, Switzerland; has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with hydrogen technologies specialist Hydrogène de France (HDF)  to jointly manufacture megawatt-scale fuel cell systems capable of powering ocean-going vessels. Hydrogen power is an area of interest in many industrial sectors — Siemens and Uniper recently announced a joint project involving renewable hydrogen, along with other large-scale projects involving consortia in in Singapore, Germany and Western Australia.

ABB hydrogen ships

ABB and HDF are progressing plans for renewable-hydrogen-powered shipping vessels (Source: ABB)

The MOU envisages close collaboration on the assembly and production of hydrogen fuel-cell power plants for marine applications.

Building on an existing collaboration announced on June 27, 2018 with Ballard Power Systems, the leading global provider of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell solutions, ABB and HDF intend to optimize fuel-cell manufacturing capabilities to produce a megawatt-scale power plant for marine vessels. The new system will be based on the megawatt-scale fuel cell power plant jointly developed by ABB and Ballard, and will be manufactured at HDF’s new facility in Bordeaux, France.

Fuel cells turn the chemical energy from hydrogen into electricity through an electrochemical reaction. With the use of renewables to produce the hydrogen, the entire energy chain can be clean.

“HDF is very excited to cooperate with ABB to assemble and produce megawatt-scale fuel cell systems for the marine market based on Ballard technology,” said Damien Havard, CEO of HDF.

“With the ever-increasing demand for solutions that enable sustainable, responsible shipping, we are confident that fuel cells will play an important role in helping the marine industry meet CO2 reduction targets,” said Juha Koskela, Managing Director, ABB Marine & Ports. “Signing the MOU with HDF brings us a step closer to making this technology available for powering ocean-going vessels.”