Zero emission fuel cells could be the solution to clean up the shipping industry

Zero emission fuel cells could be the solution to clean up the shipping industry

November 13, 2019 0 By Bret Williams
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Shipping is one of the dirtiest businesses in the world.

Zero emission fuel cells could be the logical, clean solution that the shipping industry needs to lower its currently monster-sized carbon footprint. The shipping industry is huge and with it comes massive pollution levels, due to the ships commonly burning bunker fuel, which is a dirty heavy fuel oil.

The shipping industry wants to change.

Being one of the dirtiest industries in the world isn’t news to the shipping industry, which is overly aware that they have a giant problem, and its one that they’re working toward changing.

Climate reporter Rebecca Hersher told NPR that the largest shipping company in the world, Maersk, has made a promise to be zero carbon by 2050, reports Nasdaq.

How? Industry leaders believe that the shipping industry can become green with the help of hydrogen fuel cell technology.

In fact, zero emission fuel cells was a hot topic at this year’s Maritime Hybrid & Electric Conference in Bergen, Norway. At the conference, plenty of discussions took place with the focus of implementing these fuel cells on a widescale across the industry in the very near future.

How near? Jan-Erik Rasanen, head of new technologies at Foreship, said during the conference that a poll revealed that there is a “surprising” interest from the merchant shipping fleet in the uptake of hydrogen fuel cell technology in the next five years.

Hydrogen-powered ships with zero emission fuel cells are already travelling the seas.

Multiple countries around the world have hydrogen-powered marine vessels in the works, including Norway, Germany and France and the United States, to name a few.

One of the more notable projects is the Energy Observer, the world’s first hydrogen ship to be fully powered by renewable energy. The French boat features solar panels and wind turbine thrusters and is able to generate hydrogen during navigation. The hydrogen is produced by harvested seawater and carbon-free electrolysis. The process is powered by the renewable electricity on the ship.

Currently, the Energy Observer is sailing around the world, a trip that is expected to take six years to complete with 50 countries to visit and 101 stopovers.

zero emission fuel cells - Shipping DockBeyond this innovative catamaran, zero carbon fuel cells are also being used in a variety of other marine projects including push boats, fishing boats, ferries and beyond.