Skip to content

Fuel Cells for Shipping: To Meet On-board Auxiliary Demand and Reduce Emissions


The reduction of harmful emissions from the international shipping sector is necessary. On-board energy demand can be categorised as either: propulsion, or auxiliary services. Auxiliary services contribute a significant proportion of energy demand, with major loads including: compressors, pumps, and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning). Typically, this demand is met using the same fuel source as the main propulsion (i.e. fossil fuels). This study has analysed whether emissions from large scale ships could feasibly be reduced by meeting auxiliary demand by installing a hydrogen fuel cell, using data from an LNG tanker to develop a case study. Simulations have shown that for a capacity of 10 x 40ft containers of compressed hydrogen, the optimal fuel cell size would be 3 MW and this could save 10600 MWh of fossil fuel use, equivalent to 2343 t of CO2. Hence this could potentially decarbonise a significant proportion of shipping energy demand. Although there are some notable technical and commercial considerations, such as fuel cell lifetime and capital expenditure requirements. Results imply that if auxiliary loads could be managed to avoid peaks in demand, this could further increase the effectiveness of this concept.

Funding source: The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through the Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Storage and its Applications (Grant No. EP/L016818/1)
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: United Kingdom

Article metrics loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error