EKPO fuel cell stack excels in maritime application
This year's World Port Days (September 2-4, 2022), hosted by the Port of Rotterdam, will see the public unveiling of the world's first hydrogen-powered water taxi. The water taxi is equipped with an NM5-EVO fuel cell stack engineered by EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies GmbH (EKPO). The integration of the EKPO fuel cell stack within the maritime application presented at the event marks the culmination of an order placed by Dutch fuel cell system integrator zepp.solutions B.V.
The shipping sector is one of the largest emitters of CO2 worldwide. At the same time, however, emission standards and environmental regulations for the entire maritime sector are becoming increasingly stringent. Against this backdrop, the industry as a whole is now faced with growing pressure to migrate to sustainable propulsion concepts. The water taxi to be presented at the World Port Days event – the first of its kind worldwide to be powered by hydrogen – can be seen as a commitment to a clean maritime future and illustrates the feasibility of zero-emission mobility in the shipping sector.
Zepp.solutions was responsible for the development and integration of both the fuel cell and the hydrogen storage system. In this context, EKPO's NM5-EVO fuel cell stack was incorporated into the Y50 turnkey fuel cell system engineered by zepp.solutions. The vessel's system configuration includes a hydrogen storage unit of 14 kg and is designed to deliver a power output of 50 kW. At normal cruising speed (16 km/h), the overall operating time is 9 hours. With an engine output of 95 kW, the top speed is 25 km/h. Measuring 8.8 metres in length, the water taxi offers space for up to 12 people and is to be used in the port of Rotterdam.
"We are very proud of the fact that our technology is now being deployed in the maritime sector for the first time. The successful integration in a water taxi illustrates just how flexibly our stacks can be used," says Julien Etienne, Chief Commercial Officer at EKPO. "Fuel cells have huge potential in shipping, and we are already working intensively on further projects in the maritime sector," says Etienne.
The collaborative efforts of zepp.solutions and EKPO date back to an order for several fuel cell stacks to be incorporated into the customer's Y50 turnkey fuel cell system. The systems are intended for use in various applications associated with logistics centers and ports. The two contractual parties are committed to continuing their business arrangement on the basis of the successes achieved so far and are currently in talks about the future.
EKPO develops and manufactures PEMFC stack modules based on patented designs for metallic bipolar plates as well as end and media modules that allow substantial simplification with regard to the fuel cell system. The NM5-EVO PEMFC stack module is currently available with up to 335 cells. At 2.5 bara operating pressure, it achieves an output of up to 76 kWel. The NM5-EVO fuel cell stack is designed for large-scale automotive applications, but also offers the flexibility of being used in other applications with comparable power requirements.
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About EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies
EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies (EKPO), headquartered in Dettingen/Erms (Germany), is a leading joint venture in the development and large-scale production of fuel cell stacks for CO2-neutral mobility. The company is a full-service supplier for fuel cell stacks and components used in passenger cars, light commercial vehicles, trucks, buses, as well as in train and marine applications. Within this context, the company is building on the industrialization expertise of two established international automotive suppliers - ElringKlinger and Plastic Omnium.
The aim of the joint venture is to develop and mass-produce high-performance fuel cell stacks in order to further advance CO2-neutral mobility - whether on the road, rail, water or off-road.
Zepp.solutions is a Dutch fuel cell system producer and integrator that offers extremely compact, highly integrated systems for medium and heavy-duty markets. The company’s PEM fuel cell system solutions contain all components, subsystems and control software necessary to turn hydrogen gas into electric power at maximum efficiency and operational robustness.
Zepp.solutions is committed to helping manufacturers of vehicles, ships and other heavy equipment adopt fuel cell system technology, lowering their CO2 emissions and becoming the industry leaders in their field.
Photos: © SWIM