ABB Advances Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology For Large Container Ships

ABB says, emissions from big ships in the ocean are a big deal. Maritime transportation adds up to around 3% of the carbon dioxide emissions each year, and if we don’t make any changes, it’s supposed to go up to 17% by 2050.


ABB is really into hydrogen fuel cell technology. The company explains that fuel cells generate energy through an electro-chemical reaction. There is no combustion involved as the fuel cell converts fuel directly to electricity and heat.

There are a bunch of fuel cell technologies out there. One of the coolest zero emission technologies is the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell. The PEM fuel cell turns the chemical energy from hydrogen into electricity by reacting with oxygen, and it only gives off clean water and heat.

ABB whole ship power management system. Image credit: ABB
This week, the company said they’re teaming up with Samskip Group, a shipping company from the Netherlands that’s aiming to be net zero by 2040, and India’s Cochin Shipyard. Together, they’ll be building two container ships that are 135 meters long. These ships will be powered by a 3.2 MW ABB hydrogen fuel cell system. The best part is that each ship is predicted to get rid of 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year.

The 135-meter ships are due for delivery in Q3 and Q4 of 2025, respectively. Both vessels will be operating between Oslo Fjord and Rotterdam, a distance of approximately 700 nautical miles.

Reference- ABB Online Newsroom, Clean Technica, Interesting Engineering, PV Magazine