Ricardo develops H2 fuel cells to power passenger ships

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British engineering consultancy Ricardo is part of the sustainable HYdrogen-powered Shipping consortium (sHYpS) to spearhead the development of fuel cell propulsion systems for passenger ships, aiming to achieve zero emissions.

The project, comprising 13 partners across six European countries, including Norway and the UK, aims to accelerate the adoption of hydrogen as a renewable fuel in the maritime industry.

Ricardo takes the lead in specifying, designing, building, and testing a 375 kW fuel cell module. Additionally, the engineers are responsible for developing a containerized multi-megawatt (MW) power plant, which combines the outputs of several fuel cell modules for installation on passenger ships. The emphasis is on bespoke solutions to optimize power density while considering the space constraints inherent in various ship designs.

Adrian Schaffer, President of Emerging Mobility at Ricardo, expressed the significance of the project and its potential impact on the shipping industry. He acknowledged the challenges faced by the industry in achieving zero-emissions navigation in line with future global regulations. Schaffer also emphasized Ricardo’s experience in hydrogen and fuel cell technology and mentioned their ongoing work with customers across multiple sectors, including automotive and aerospace.

In collaboration with Lloyd’s Register, Ricardo will initiate the classification process for the system to ensure compliance with safety and regulatory standards. The initial module will be tested in Ricardo’s state-of-the-art 400 kW hydrogen fuel cell test chamber, located at their engineering centre in the UK.

Other consortium members include the ship design company Naval Progetti, cruise company Viking from Norway, Cenergy and the University of Trieste, Hypulsion and the port of Bergen as Havn AS, among others.

Funding of over €14 mn for the sHYpS initiative has been provided by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) under the Horizon Europe funding guarantee. Under this agreement, however, the UK continues to have access to Horizon Europe funding opportunities as a non-EU country.

Mike Biddle, Executive Director – Net Zero at Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), congratulated Ricardo for their success in Horizon Europe. “I encourage anyone considering applying to Horizon Europe to go for it.”

ricardo.com, shyps.eu (project website)


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