AIDA Cruises to pilot cruise industry's first fuel cell system

AIDA Cruises to pilot cruise industry's first fuel cell system
The fuel cell system will be trialled on AIDAnova, which was the world's first LNG-powered cruise ship (Image: AIDA Cruises)

Carnival Corporation’s Germany-based brand AIDA Cruises has joined with Carnival Maritime, Freudenberg Sealing Technologies, the Meyer Werft shipyard and other partners to pilot the world’s first fuel cell system for large passenger vessels on AIDAnova.

Funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, the Pa-X-ell2 research project will involve AIDA trialling fuel cells that are powered by hydrogen derived from methanol on AIDAnova by as early as 2021. This will be the first time that a cruise ship has been powered by fuel cells.

Designed by Freudenberg Sealing Technologies, the fuel cells will be integrated into a hybrid energy system for cruise ships. Initial land-based tests have shown that the cells have a lifespan of more than 35,000 operating hours – longer than those currently being developed for automobiles.

If successful, the fuel cells will enable AIDAnova to operate with even lower levels of emissions than she does currently with her LNG-powered engines. In future, there is also the potential that the methanol will be produced by renewable energy sources.

In addition, the fuel cells are expected to reduce operational noise and vibrations.

“With the first-time use of fuel cells onboard an oceangoing cruise ship, we will reach another important milestone on our journey to emission-neutral cruising,” said Felix Eichhorn, president of AIDA Cruises. “Our goal is to continue to show concrete solutions for achieving our climate targets.”

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
Tuesday, October 15, 2019

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