Since the second quarter of 2022, the Alfa Laval Test & Training Centre in Aalborg, Denmark, has been running a small-scale methanol fuel cell system that has so far yielded positive test results. The company says that the test project is on track for a 200kW installation.
Funded by the Danish Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program, Alfa Laval seeks to create an efficient and cost-effective energy solution for the maritime industry based on high-temperature proton exchange membrane (HT-PEM) fuel cells. The company’s 10kW (2 x 5kW) installation has been running at its facility since July 2022.
The fuel cell system – which uses carbon-neutral renewable methanol – can deliver clean power with no particulate emissions.
Alfa Laval’s test system consists of modules of HT-PEM fuel cell stacks that can be combined in racks of 200kW, resulting in a powerful, standardized, scalable system aimed at applications within the marine sector. Alfa Laval created the entire system infrastructure and the distribution systems required to support the fuel cells.
The company is currently testing two modules – each containing one fuel cell stack – to run with the distribution systems. Gathered data will be used to tune the 200kW module and rack setup.
“We are pleased with the progress in the HT-PEM fuel cell system project,” said Jeroen van Riel, business development manager of marine energy solutions at Alfa Laval. “Although this first installation is small, it allows us to test the basic setup and the function of the supporting equipment. The data compiled so far is very promising, which suggests that we can move into the next stage as planned.”
Riel continued, “The project will lead to an integrated, safe and marine-certified product for application on tomorrow’s green ships. Within the near future, it will offer a realistic alternative to combustion-based auxiliary power on board.”