Nuvera Fuel Cells and H2Boat are working together to develop a hydrogen-based zero-emission energy system for marine vessel uses as they look to add more sustainability to the industry.
Nurvera, which makes heavy-duty hydrogen fuel cell engines, is supplying an E-45 engine to H2Boat for integration into its HP Energy Pack. H2Boat plans to use the Nuvera E-Series fuel cell engines to expand its marine product line.
Italy-based H2Boat was launched in 2020 to increase sustainable hydrogen technology in the marine industry. It is part of Bluenergy Revolution, a company from the University of Genoa in Italy, and is focused on the research and development of fuel cell, electrolyzer, and metal hydride systems. H2Boat aims to develop hydrogen technology platforms for mobile and stationary applications.
Interest in hydrogen fuel cells for marine purposes is increasing as the industry seeks to address emission concerns and improve engine reliability, Nurvera says. The use of hydrogen fuel cells in boats reduces exhaust emissions and other environmental impacts as well as lowers noise and vibrations associated with diesel-powered vessels.
Nuvera also says fuel cell engines can help vessel operators and marine equipment manufacturers comply with tightening emissions regulations.
The International Maritime Organization will begin requiring ship owners to report carbon intensity scores on a yearly basis beginning in 2023, as one example of the increased regulations. An artificial intelligence-based application from Bearing is among the technology that is helping vessel operators address those standards.
In other maritime sustainability efforts, Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels recently added members such as DuPont, Phillips, and Target, to encourage switching freight vessels powered by zero-carbon sources by 2040.
Last year, a ferry managed by SWITCH Maritime became what was said to be the first commercial marine vessel to be successfully fueled by hydrogen. It uses fuel cells producing enough electricity to power the vessel for 300 nautical miles and speeds up to 20 knots.
Maersk Supply Service is conducting another vessel sustainability project by offering an offshore charging system. It will help idling vessels charge with electricity rather than fossil fuels.
The Nuvera and H2Boat effort is on a smaller scale but still shows the desire to switch to cleaner fuel sources in the industry. H2Boat, which originally focused on the pleasure boat sector including motor boats and sailboats, says unlike boats with internal combustion engines, a fuel-cell electric boat can access marine-protected areas.
Statista estimates that ships and boats in the United States emitted 40.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2019, according to a report from 8 Billion Trees. The report says recreational boats tend to be worse emissions emitters than large commercial vessels because of differences in emissions standards.
Hydrogen fuel cells, which create constant energy by converting fuel into electricity and heat, are also becoming more of a means to promote energy transitions. The market is expected to be valued at nearly $80.5 billion by 2030, according to Research and Markets.
“Fuel cells provide an extremely attractive value proposition to the marine industry,” says Giampaolo Sibilia, director of European operations for Nuvera Fuel Cells. “We believe hydrogen should, and will, play a key role in the sector’s journey towards decarbonization.”