Fuel cell systems for ships



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ABB’s fuel cell solution is a modular power supply system developed for marine use. The system is based on the hydrogen proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells. The fuel cell technology is applicable to high and low voltage, as well as AC and DC power systems, and can be used in combination with batteries or engines. The system can be fully hydrogen-electric or integrated as part of a hybrid power system.

With the use of renewables to produce the hydrogen, the entire energy chain can be clean.


Sustainable vessel

Hydrogen fuel cells emit only water and oxygen, supporting sustainable vessel operations. Fuel cell power plant extends the vessel's running hours in zero-emission mode, and can be combined with batteries and shore charging. Fuel cells are highly recyclable.   

Charter and port access

Keep your charter options open with a fuel-cell powered vessel capable of complying with regulations in areas such as fjords and zero-emission ports.

Lower maintenance costs

Minimum moving parts limit maintenance needs while ensuring optimum lifetime and performance.  


How do fuel cells work?

Fuel cells generate energy through an electrochemical reaction. There's no combustion involved, as the fuel cell converts fuel directly to electricity and heat. There are several fuel cell technologies available. One of the most promising zero-emission technologies is the Proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). The PEM fuel cell converts the chemical energy from hydrogen into electricity through an electro chemical reaction with oxygen, emitting only clean water and heat.

Fuel cells have higher efficiency than combustion engines, and the technology allows energy to be concentrated more densely than in petroleum fuels. If renewables are used to produce the hydrogen fuel, the entire energy chain will be clean, providing a true zero-emission fuel.

Learn more about the fuel cell potential for ships, including large ocean-going vessels

Watch our fuel call TechTalks series

ABB TechTalks: Fuel cells for ships – scaling up for wider commercial application

Featuring Ballard Power Systems and ABB Marine & Ports


  • Fuel cell technology for ships – from small to large vessels
  • Market drivers
  • Fuel cell application for various vessel types
  • From land-based competence to the high seas
  • Where are we now: fuel cell projects in shipping
  • How fuel cells compare to other low-carbon solutions for ships

ABB TechTalks: Hydrogen economy - the macro view

Featuring McKinsey & Company, Hydrogen Europe, Ballard Power Systems and ABB Marine & Ports


  • Current status and expected pace of development of the hydrogen economy
  • What needs to be in place for hydrogen to assert its position as an important energy carrier
  • Hydrogen in the marine industry: fuel comparison, supply chains and differences of application for various vessel types
  • Q&A session

ABB TechTalks: Hydrogen - fueling the change

Featuring Chart Industries, Hexagon, Hyon, Ballard Power Systems and ABB Marine & Ports


  • Liquid and compressed hydrogen storage on board ships
  • Bunkering systems for hydrogen
  • Factors to consider when designing hydrogen-powered vessels
  • Safety philosophy
  • Q&A session

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