Fuel Cells

Wired News has an update in the context of marine applications:

On April 8, Mississauga, Ontario-based Hydrogenics, which designs and builds fuel-cell systems, announced an agreement to supply a 10-kilowatt power module to HaveBlue, a Ventura, California, company developing patented hydrogen-related technology for marine applications.

The module will be a key component of a regenerative fuel-cell system designed to propel HaveBlue’s X/V-1, a 42-foot Catalina demonstration yacht, said HaveBlue president, CEO and founder Craig Schmitman. The module will also help power the boat’s lights, navigation and galley appliances.

Whether fuel cells will be winners in the commercial shipping industry remains to be seen. Sailboats require far less energy for motorized propulsion than powerboats or ships, for which viable fuel-cell applications are tough to develop. Efforts to do so are under way, however.

Eatontown, New Jersey-based Millennium Cell has collaborated with Seaworthy Systems, Anuvu, Duffy Electric Boat and others in a U.S. Maritime Administration program to explore the utility of hydrogen fuel to power ships and port facilities, noted as major sources of pollution. The team demonstrated a fuel-cell-powered water taxi on San Francisco Bay in October 2003 for the World Maritime Technology Conference and Exposition.

“We came up with the idea to generate hydrogen on board the vessel, rather than to load hydrogen or strip it from carbon-based fuel,” said Martin Toyen, president of Seaworthy Systems. “That way, we could cut down the size of the (fuel) cell.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.