RiverCell's hydrogen fuel cell hybrid set to be used for inland shipping

A new hydrogen fuel cell unit developed by the RiverCell consortium has passed safety testing and will now look to be implemented into the German maritime sector.

RiverCell's hydrogen fuel cell hybrid set to be used for inland shipping

Offering a unique hybrid design, the fuel cell system will operate for inland vessels providing a method to decarbonise this sector of European transportation.

The system itself features energy storage combined with sustainable fuel cell-powered energy production that can both increase safety and efficiency within the shipping sector.

As part of the demonstration to showcase the systems safety aspect, a section of a river cruise vessel was set up on dryland at Neptun Werft, Germany, where a protype of the system was successfully integrated.

Included within the consortium developing this fuel cell system is DNV, HADAG, Helm Proman Methanol, Neptun Werft, Pella Sietas, Technische Universität Berlin, Viking River Technical Cruises, and Advent Technologies.

By bringing a new fuel cell system specifically for the maritime sector, it enables the optimisation of the hybrid system to ensure that it can bolster the inland shipping sector.

This will ultimately make fuel cells more attractive to fossil fuel engine variants and support the EU in achieving its net zero goals by 2050.

Ragnar Christenson, Project Manager for the RiverCell consortium from Meyer Werft, said: 

“The maritime industry needs to find new ways to reduce all its emissions. Not only in the long run, but starting immediately, the shipping industry needs to deploy sustainable technologies and in particular speed up the change to renewable fuel sources.

“By RiverCell, we have demonstrated how fuel cell technology can be a safe, clean and efficient alternative to today’s diesel gensets in marine use. We have also been able to demonstrate how hydrogen for fuel cells, in the form of methanol, can be safely and efficiently stored on ships.

“The HT PEM fuel cells developed and manufactured by Advent Technologies can use methanol, carrier of hydrogen, as the fuel source, and we consider methanol one of the most promising and practical future fuels for the shipping sector.

“At Meyer Werft, we are happy to pioneer alongside our partners with our demonstrations of fuel cell technology, both to gain a competitive edge but also to influence global standards, paving the way for this sustainable alternative.”