“e4ships – fuel cells in maritime application“ is an association of leading German yards, ship operators, manufacturers of fuel cells, equipment suppliers and classification societies. The association is working on a joint industry project, which is partly financed by public funds. The common interest is in the use of fuel cell technologies on ships for environmentally friendly energy supply for supply systems on ships. In addition to working on solving specific technical aspects in dedicated individual projects, a common project – the strategy module – is dealing with issues of climate protection, economics of using fuel cell technology, technical standards pertinent to safety and a strategy for market introduction. This is addressing in additional novel fuels like ultra-low sulphur diesel oil or natural gas.

The specific objectives of the strategy module are:

  • Benchmark of existing energy supply systems with novel fuel cell based systems which are developed in this joint industry project. Benchmark parameters include sustainability and energy efficiency.
  • Identification of investment- and operating costs of fuel cell systems as a basis identification of potential for future optimization.
  • Definition of technical use cases and further roadmaps with respect to restrictions on space and weight and power demand on seagoing ships.

The tasks include the contribution to the development of international rules, regulations and standards for type approval of fuel cell systems and their integration with ship systems. Other contribution is addressing the use of low-emission fuels like ultra-low sulphur diesel oil, natural gas or methanol on ships and their availability in ports. The focus is alignment with the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the international regulatory body for shipping.

Two demonstration projects for using fuel cells on ships are executed under the umbrella of the lighthouse project e4ships.