Fuel Cells Reduce Ship Emissions - DLR Press Release

Working with partners from industry and research, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is developing a climate-friendly energy supply system for ships. It is based on a highly efficient fuel cell system designed to generate heat and power on board. A notable benefit of the cells is that they work with many different fuels. To test the technology, the EU's NAUTILUS (Nautical Integrated Hybrid Energy System for Long-haul Cruise Ships) research project, led by the DLR Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics, is producing a demonstrator suitable for ships.

Globally, shipping accounts for a significant proportion of greenhouse gas emissions. It also produces sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and soot particles. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has therefore cut the limits for ship emissions. Its aim is a reduction in the carbon dioxide emission limit of 40 percent by 2030 and 70 percent by 2050 compared with 2008 levels.

Cruise ships are particularly affected by this. Compared with merchant ships, they spend longer in port during stopovers with shore excursions. As a result, they pollute the surrounding area with soot and exhaust fumes. In addition, the emission standards applying in ports are often stricter than those at sea.

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NAUTILUS is a short for Nautical Integrated Hybrid Energy System for Long-haul Cruise Ships.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 861647.