Blue World develops methanol fuel cell APUs for marine applications

Blue World develops methanol fuel cell APUs for marine applications

Danish fuel cell manufacturer Blue World Technologies is development a methanol fuel cell powered auxiliary power unit (APU) to replace conventional diesel generators for shipboard power.

Blue World Technologies is a developer and manufacturer of High Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane (HT PEM) fuel cells and will begin mass production in December 2022. The company’s focus on the marine industry features the support from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, founded by Bill Gates, which in August 2022 entered as an investor and completed Blue World’s series B round of a total of 37 million euros.

With the decision to expand the company’s activities within development and manufacturing to cover APU systems for marine use, the company will be able to offer modular APU solutions in the megawatt range for direct integration into new builds, as well as refits in existing ships.

Auxiliary power unit based on Blue World methanol fuel cells. Fuel cells are based on high-temperature PEM technology (operating at 160-180°C) that has a high resistance to impurities; no gas purification is needed in the reformed gas. Unique to HT PEM fuel cells is the potential for waste heat utilization where part of the waste heat from the fuel cell is used to drive the methanol reforming process and thus optimize the ‘total efficiency of the system. In addition, waste heat can also be used for additional energy recovery.

Especially in the last two years, we have seen the use of renewable methanol as a shipping fuel become a global trend, with more and more methanol-powered ships, cruise ships and large ocean-going container ships. As a supplier of auxiliary power units for shipping, Blue World Technologies will support this trend by offering high power methanol fuel cell solutions with high electrical efficiency, long durability and low maintenance costs. By combining our core technology with the entire production, from components to finished systems, our customers will benefit from our first-hand technological knowledge.

—Mads Friis Jensen, commercial director and co-founder of Blue World Technologies

Blue World Technologies’ methanol fuel cell system can supply the electricity needed on board a ship using a simple, modular cabinet configuration consisting of 200 kW cabinets that combined can provide a power load in the megawatt range. This means that the energy supply can be adapted to the specific needs of the customer.

To offset the green premium of e-fuels like methanol, the Blue World methanol fuel cell APU system will have an energy efficiency of 45% to 60%. This will reduce operating costs and thus enable cost-effective use of e-fuels.

In addition to net zero CO22 emissions, Blue World fuel cells will guarantee operation where NOxSOxand harmful particles are emitted.

In the coming years, Blue World will expand its production capacity and aims to take a further step into the marine market with methanol fuel cell systems for propulsion.

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