Hybrid batteries and fuel cells-based vessel power trains: System integration

Hybrid batteries and fuel cells-based vessel power trains: System integration

Maritime transportation contributes nearly three percent of annual carbon-dioxide emissions, and this is predicted to increase to 17 percent by 2050 if no changes are adapted.

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The maritime industry has recently been subject to stricter language regarding carbon-dioxide emissions reduction and green shipping initiatives. Alternative energy sources such as batteries and hydrogen fuel cells must be utilized to meet these strict carbon-dioxide emissions reduction targets. Since the output of both batteries and fuel cells is unregulated DC voltage, their connection to the vessel electrical system can be accomplished utilizing many configurations, each with its specific features. Such features, including the maximum source-to-load efficiency, impact overall system performance, size, weight, and cost. This article presents an overview of the possible integration schemes for a hybrid vessel power system and illustrates the impact of battery sizing and power sharing on the investment cost and total cost of ownership.


Electrification of transportation is undergoing a significant transition towards the utilization of efficient and reliable energy sources and smart integration schemes. This transition is continuously facing ever-tightening challenges to comply with stricter environmental regulations and new policies. Among the different means of transportation, global maritime transport is responsible for 2–3 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This is predicted to increase to 17 percent by 2050 if no changes are adapted [1], [2]. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has targeted a 50 percent reduction in GHG emissions by 2050 compared to 2008 levels [3]. Looking at these targets from the IMO and the associated challenges, no single fuel or technological solution on its own is expected to be able to meet demands across the entire segment, which means that hybrid solutions consisting of alternate fuels, new technologies, and gains in system efficiencies are required.

[1]   O. Gaffney, J. Rockstrom, J. Falk, A. K. Bhowmik et al., “Meeting the1.5°C climate ambition - moving from incremental to exponentialaction,” UN Climate Action Summit, New York City, New York, US, 2019.

[2]  R. E. Schnurr and T. R. Walker, “Marine transportation and energyuse,” in Reference Module in Earth Systems and EnvironmentalSciences. Elsevier, 2019. Available online: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780124095489092708

[3]  IMO MEPC73. 2018. “MEPC73/WP.5, Annex.” Reduction of GHGEmissions from Ships. Available online: https://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/HotTopics/Pages/Cutting-GHG-emissions.aspx


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