The Finnish Enviroment Institute SYKE and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have a joint project for testing hydrogen based fuel cell technology on R/V Aranda. A pilot plant that will be built in a container is currently under construction, and will be placed on Aranda’s deck in summer 2020 for test use. The project is funded by European Union.
Fuel cell technology based on renewable hydrogen is clean and emission-free. The fuel cell chemically generates electricity by converting hydrogen and oxygen into electricity and water vapor. In Aranda, this waste heat will be used for heating, and electricity for lighting. The technology has already been applied on land, for example in camper vans, and also in smaller scale vessels such as road ferries.
“The big idea behind this experiment is that this energy source is emission-free, and water contains unlimited amount of hydrogen. In the future hydrogen could be produced from water onboard a ship, e.g. with solar or wind energy”, says Jukka Pajala, Senior Adviser of SYKE. The fuel cell at Aranda will not yet be able to rotate the propellers of the ship, as the system is small and there is hydrogen only for a few days. “Although we are still technically quite far away from ships being powered by hydrogen alone, this is still an important alternative for the future of shipping. There are already larger projects on the design tables in Europe,” Pajala continues. VG-Shipping’s role in the project is to contribute to the practical work and techincal modifications asianon board. “We are consulting as a specialist in connecting the system to the ship,” says Lasse Smirnov, Technical Manager, who is responsible for Aranda’s technical management at VG-Shipping.