Fuel cell manufacturer Nedstack and GE’s Power Conversion business have entered into a partnership to develop hydrogen fuel cell power systems for cruise vessels.

The two companies envisage using this technology on passenger ships, replacing traditional diesel engines with fuel cells, and heavy fuel oil (HFO) with hydrogen.

So far, Nedstack and GE have designed the concept for a two megawatt hydrogen fuel cell power plant on an expedition vessel. According to the companies, the review result has been highly positive and plausible, and they are working towards the ultimate goal of a truly zero-emission system that will enable the world’s first sustainable, clean cruise ships.

The cruise industry shares a joint responsibility to eliminate the possible negative impacts it might have on port communities, the health of passengers and staff, and on the environment as a whole.

Shipowners are already under pressure to comply with the reduced sulfur limit regulations coming into force next year. Both global International Maritime Organization (IMO) and regional regulations require marine vessels to reduce emissions or eliminate them altogether.

“Existing clean power solutions are focused on reducing emissions. Eliminating emissions altogether demands a paradigm shift,” Arnoud van de Bree, CEO of Nedstack said.

“Hence why GE and Nedstack have been working extensively on the ‘marinisation’ of fuel cell technology to create a total zero-emission alternative that truly meets the needs of tomorrow’s cruise industry.”

“We’re proud to be working with Nedstack on what we believe will be a game changer for the cruise industry,” said Ed Torres, CEO of Marine and O&G, GE’s Power Conversion business.

“This partnership brings together a rich pool of expertise that’s spearheading much needed innovation. Given the marine transport and shipping sector’s changing regulatory landscape, this innovation could not be more timely.”

This partnership brings together GE’s expertise in cruise electrical power and propulsion solutions plus system integration capability, with Nedstack’s extensive experience in megawatt-scale hydrogen fuel cell technology.