Ballard Power Systems is establishing a centre of excellence dedicated to fuel cell marine applications in Denmark to address zero-emission powertrain requirements for the marine industry.

Through its subsidiary Ballard Power Systems Europe, the company will establish a Marine Centre of Excellence (Marine CoE) at its engineering, manufacturing and service facility in Hobro.

The centre, planned to be operational by the end of 2019, will design and manufacture heavy duty fuel cell modules. It is expected to have an annual production capacity of more than 15 megawatts (MW) of fuel cell modules.

Fuel cell module development work at the Marine CoE will be based on Ballard’s new FCgen®-LCS fuel cell stack and next-generation heavy duty power module, which are planned for commercial launch later this year, and will be designed to meet European marine certification requirements.

High priority

Reduction of pollutants and carbon emissions are a high priority for the marine industry and port cities. Regulations to restrict diesel emissions are being introduced at the local and regional levels in various parts of the world, and this is generating interest in zero-emission fuel cell technology.

In 2018, the United Nations International Maritime Organisation (IMO) announced a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships, including a 50% reduction in GHG’s as soon as possible in this century.

The IMO has estimated that 1.135 billion tonnes of CO2 was emitted by ships in 2008, representing 3.5% of the global total that year.

Jesper Themsen, President and CEO of Ballard Power Systems Europe, said, “We are now witnessing early indicators of long-term disruption in the marine industry, with dirty diesel engines being substituted by zero-emission fuel cell systems.”

“Our Marine CoE – together with our extensive experience and knowledge in heavy duty motive applications such as buses, trucks and trains – will position Ballard at the epicentre of this critical transition in the marine market.”