Ballard fuel cells installed onboard world’s first liquid hydrogen-powered ferry


With the first sea trials beginning in December, MF Hydra will, as the first ferry in the world, be powered by proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells running on liquid hydrogen.

“The installation of Ballard’s FCwave™ fuel cells onboard the MF Hydra not only showcases how efficiently the zero-emission operation of ships can be implemented, it also demonstrates how user-friendly the actual fuel cell installation setup is from an operator’s perspective,” says Thomas Therkild Petersen, Marine Product Line Manager, Ballard.

The two fuel cell systems are integrated into a clean-lined cabinet with easy access doors. All interfaces are accessible from the front for service and maintenance, and all connections are located below floor level. The FCwave™’s DNV Type Approval certification confirms that the design meets the stringent safety, functional, design and documentation requirements for the marine industry.

Petersen said: “The FCwave™ module is a true plug-and-play solution, providing an optimal zero-emission replacement for conventional combustion engines onboard ships. It is a high-power, adaptable engine in a hybrid electric system that incorporates fuel cells working together with batteries to provide efficient, zero-emission power.

“With this real-world example, we can help to ‘demystify’ how we reduce the complexity of fuel cell technology integration – which may still be quite new to some ship operators. In a nutshell, this is really zero-emission made easy.”

Norled’s MF Hydra has a capacity of up to 299 passengers and 80 cars and will sail on the triangular route between Hjelmeland-Skipavik-Nesvik in Norway. The first test runs will take place in December 2022.