The PEM fuel cell is a mature technology that has been successfully used both in marine and other high energy applications. The technology is available for a number of applications. The maturity of the technology is the main reason why this is one of the most promising fuel cell technologies for marine use, this also leads to a relatively low cost. The PEM fuel cell was the technology receiving the highest score in ranking in the EMSA Study on the Use of Fuel Cells in Shipping.

The operating temperature is low, and operation requires pure hydrogen. The safety aspects are thus related to the use and storage of hydrogen on a vessel. Using hydrogen as fuel, the only emission is water and low quality heat. The low temperature provides high tolerance for cycling operation.

The efficiency is moderate, 50-60 %, and with the low temperature, heat recovery is not feasible. The modules currently have a size of up to 120 kW, and the physical size is small, which is positive for marine use.

Fuel cell “Lovers” canal boat
Every day Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, welcomes a huge number of visitors. Many of these visitors will tour the beautiful canals by boat. These boats use diesel engines, which are noisy and emit various harmful particles and gasses.

fuel cell canal boat

The fuel cell boat was designed to bring down emissions in the canals by converting hydrogen to electrical energy using fuel cells. The boat was fitted with two fuel cell engines, each one capable of delivering up to 30kWe. The fuel cell systems have been designed and supplied by Nedstack.The fuel cell system has been certified by the Germanischer Lloyd/DNV for use in the canal boat.With the Nedstack hydrogen fuel cells, passengers and residents of Amsterdam can enjoy the canals without the diesel stench, noise and emissions generated by a diesel generator.The fuel cell canal boat had its maiden voyage during the 2010 Sail event in Amsterdam. Powered by a hydrogen fuel cell the H2 Nemo can transport up to 87 people with no emissions through the canals of Amsterdam.