Executive Briefings

Marine Transportation Steams Toward Fuel-Cell Propulsion

Two technology development streams are converging toward a point that makes fuel cells attractive as a power source for marine propulsion. They are the growing adoption of hybrid-electric powertrain systems and the projected growth in the number of vessels burning LNG as fuel.

Professor Zuomin Dong of the University of Victoria, Canada, has led multimillion-dollar research programs on hybrid-electric and fuel cells for ground vehicles and, most recently, for green ship propulsion and power system development. This encompasses the development of various advanced plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles, low-speed fuel cell vehicles, and the system design of a hybrid propulsion system involving diesel generators, hydrogen fuel cells and a plug-in battery system for a medium-sized research vessel.

LNG is an important future fuel source for fuel cells because it is more readily available than hydrogen. There is already a certification process for installing LNG technology onboard ships with certified fuel transportation and storage products. The growing demand for dual-fuel and LNG engines for vessels means that the trading fleet will become increasingly familiar with the technology and more will be carrying LNG as fuel.

"Ten or twenty years from now, you will for sure see some of the larger marine vessels operate on fuel cells. The reason is that, today, there is a lot of interest in burning LNG as a fuel," says Dong.

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Keywords  transportation management, fuel-cell propulsion in ocean transportation, LNG in ocean transportation, alternative fuels in marine transport

Professor Zuomin Dong of the University of Victoria, Canada, has led multimillion-dollar research programs on hybrid-electric and fuel cells for ground vehicles and, most recently, for green ship propulsion and power system development. This encompasses the development of various advanced plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles, low-speed fuel cell vehicles, and the system design of a hybrid propulsion system involving diesel generators, hydrogen fuel cells and a plug-in battery system for a medium-sized research vessel.

LNG is an important future fuel source for fuel cells because it is more readily available than hydrogen. There is already a certification process for installing LNG technology onboard ships with certified fuel transportation and storage products. The growing demand for dual-fuel and LNG engines for vessels means that the trading fleet will become increasingly familiar with the technology and more will be carrying LNG as fuel.

"Ten or twenty years from now, you will for sure see some of the larger marine vessels operate on fuel cells. The reason is that, today, there is a lot of interest in burning LNG as a fuel," says Dong.

Read Full Article


Keywords  transportation management, fuel-cell propulsion in ocean transportation, LNG in ocean transportation, alternative fuels in marine transport