Fuel Cell Systems for Maritime

At Freudenberg e-Power Systems, we understand the challenges of the maritime industry and the need for fuel-efficient systems with long operational lifetimes. Our maritime fuel cell systems are designed to meet these challenges, using advanced technology to deliver clean and reliable power generation. Featuring a modular and scalable design, the systems can be adapted to different vessel types and sizes, from small passenger ships to large cargo vessels. 

We focus on providing our customers with the best-in-class total cost of ownership, which includes lowering service and maintenance costs, maximizing range, and optimizing payload or passenger cabins. With certified fuel cell systems for hydrogen, methanol, and liquified natural gas, we can help you reduce your emissions, improve your efficiency, and enhance your competitiveness in the maritime market.

SMARTR Stack - The Core Building Block

The core of our fuel cell system is the SMARTR stack platform, designed specifically for true heavy-duty requirements and high-volume industrialization. The platform convinces not only with this purpose-driven design approach but also with a unique vertical integration. Taking a holistic approach, from raw materials on the cell level to a proper component configuration, results in an unmatched level of technical performance. 

The SMARTR stack has a unique temperature distribution of a delta less than five degrees Celsius across the complete cell, enabling the system to maintain efficiency while performing in challenging environments and situations without compromising on lifetime. 

Designed for high-volume industrialization and involving a strategy of using identical parts, the SMARTR stack. The materials of our high-performance components, such as graphite bipolar plates, meet the long operational requirements of maritime applications and last more than 100,000 hours.

Long-Lasting Catalyst Layers

Our proprietary catalyst production enables low manufacturing cost while ensuring superior efficiency and a long lifetime. Our highly reactive and long-lasting catalyst layers boost the performance and durability of our fuel cell stacks.

We also develop next-generation catalyst nano-structures, including core-shell and alloy particles, using a patented manufacturing process. This enables us to modify the catalyst layers and make them resistant to fuel impurities. 

The process results in small particle sizes with maximum surfaces and lower platinum loading, enabling tailor-made solutions such as CO-tolerant anode catalysts for maritime applications.

Our fuel cell systems with integrated fuel reforming, as well as our maritime hydrogen systems, feature specific modifications on the catalyst layers to provide an impurity-tolerant system performance without any compromise on efficiency and lifetime.

Contact Your Maritime Fuel Cell Expert

We are ready to analyze your maritime projects, considering several fuel options and create a common way forward.


Contact Us

Fuel Cell Systems with Integrated Fuel Reforming

For ocean-going and long-distance vessels, our maritime fuel cell systems with integrated fuel reforming technology are the ideal solution. The systems turn either methanol or liquified natural gas into hydrogen which is then used to generate electricity in the fuel cell. These fuels offer anet-zero operation and supporting maritime use cases for long-distance shipping.

To make the integration of our fuel cell systems as easy as possible, we offer a compact solution in the power class 500 kW with a plug-and-play design that minimizes the installation time and effort. 

This modular and scalable approach enables the installation of multiple systems, to reach double-digit megawatt power outputs to cover the propulsion and power needs of all ship segments, both for new-builds and retrofits of existing fleets.

Fuel Flexibility and Net-Zero

The question of fuel type is directly linked to the size of the energy system on board, consisting of energy converters and fuel tanks. Hydrogen is a good option for the net-zero shipping of the future, as it only produces water in a fuel cell and can be made from renewable sources.

However, hydrogen’s low energy density per volume means a large tank is needed to store enough hydrogen for the required power needs. Storing hydrogen as a primary fuel onboard also needs high pressure or low temperature, which adds complexity and safety challenges to the ship. Our maritime fuel cell systems with integrated fuel reforming technology overcome this challenge. 

Depending on the specific configuration, our systems can run on methanol or liquified natural gas. When produced in a sustainable way with the help of green electricity and captured CO2, these fuels provide a fully climate-neutral operation.

More Passenger Cabins and Containers

Fuel cell systems with integrated fuel reforming technology enable shipyards and fleet operators to benefit from having the smallest fuel tank installations used with sustainable fuels. 

As an added benefit, fuel cell technology removes the need for expensive and space-consuming auxiliary systems, such as exhaust gas treatment, ad-blue pumps, pilot fuel systems or oil-slip systems. 

Our maritime systems with integrated fuel reforming combined with a clever hybridization of a small battery system result in impressive space savings, freeing up areas for more passenger cabins, or containers generating additional revenue that benefits the total cost of ownership.

Interested in Fuel Reforming Technology?

Engage directly with our Application Engineering team to discuss the benfits of our fuel cell solutions with integrated fuel reforming.

Contact Us

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Systems

For emission-free short-distance shipping, our maritime fuel cell systems powered by hydrogen are a viable solution, optimized for high efficiency and long operational lifetime. Our fuel cell systems are designed for more than 50% electrical efficiency at nominal power and in all typical operating modes, to ensure the lowest fuel consumption and provide best-in-class total cost of ownership.

The lifetime of up to 35,000 operating hours includes an overall degradation of just 10%, which helps to significantly reduce service and maintenance costs. Protection against harmful gases is crucial for ensuring the durability and performance of the system in harsh maritime environments. Our systems incorporate proprietary multistage filtration, which protects the fuel cell systems from particles and gases. With our maritime fuel cell systems and filtration solutions, our customers can achieve reliable, safe, and emission-free shipping.

Hydrogen Quality - Dealing with Impurities

One of the challenges of using fuel cell systems for maritime applications is the sensitivity of the fuel cells to hydrogen impurities. Most fuel cell systems require very high hydrogen quality standards, such as Grade D level, which has a purity of at least 99.97%. Gaining this level increases the fuel costs significantly.

Fuel Cell Systems by Freudenberg e-Power Systems can deal with less fuel qualities , which is why we use a patented catalyst production process to create catalyst layers highly resistant to hydrogen impurities. By shaping the catalyst layers in a specific way, we can reduce the negative effects of contaminants on the fuel cell performance and durability. 

This means our maritime fuel cell systems can use a lower quality level, such as Grade E with only 99.90% hydrogen, which brings a significant benefit to the total cost of ownership. Our fuel cell systems are designed to operate with different grades of hydrogen quality, without compromising on efficiency, lifetime, or reliability, to provide a more flexible and cost-effective solution for emission-free shipping.

Why Can Freudenberg Deal With Lower Fuel Qualities?

Most fuel cell systems require high fuel qualities like Grade D with 99.97% of pure hydrogen which add significant cost for fleet operators. Learn more about Freudenberg’s technical expertise to handle hydrogen impurities and deal with less fuel qualities.


Contact Us

Safety and Certification

As part of the German delegation of CCC6, we are recognized as a fuel cell consultant for the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and have been closely involved in the creation of maritime fuel cell rules and codes. With this full understanding of maritime regulations, including all relevant IMO IGF codes, we design and develop fuel cell systems that are fully compliant with the highest standards of safety, ensuring that the maritime industry benefits from our sustainable and highly efficient fuel cell technology. 

Our fuel cell system design has a robust and comprehensive safety concept, approved during several risk-based assessments, including HAZID and HAZOP  studies conducted by various classification societies. We were the first company in the world to achieve Type Approval for a methanol-driven fuel cell system.

Our safety concept includes the following features:

  • Fuel cell design that minimizes the amount of ignition sources and flammable gas accumulation
  • Fuel cell space that is under pressure monitoring and has a 30 times air change of system volume per hour
  • Safety-relevant signals, such as fuel cell status, alarms, and shutdowns use hard-wired contacts
  • CAN J1939 or MODBUS TCP connection to the PMS and IAMCS of the vessel
  • System design according to the zone declaration of the fuel cell guidelines (IEC 60079-10-1:2020) and a fuel cell space declared as non-hazardous under normal operation
  • Integrated flammable gas detection for hydrogen, methanol, or liquified natural gas

Service in Maritime

For our high-performance fuel cell systems with true heavy-duty efficiency and lifetime, we provide a wide range of technical support to our customers. This includes analytics and engineering advice to help you find the best approach for your project, while our technical team can support you with the mechanical and electrical integration of the fuel cell system into the ship, ensuring compatibility and safety. Our experts can also be part of your Harbor and Sea Acceptance Tests (HAT and SAT), to verify the performance and reliability of the system under different conditions.

For the operation of the fuel cell system, we offer service and maintenance contracts that include the exchange of fuel cell stacks in case of end-of-life as well as a general spare part agreement to support your long-term operation beyond typical warranty periods. 

Our multistage filtration system can also be part of a service and maintenance contract, to enable the long-term operation of your fuel cell systems at the highest efficiency. Our service team is available around the world to support you with any issues or questions you may have.