Green tech company Blue World Technologies has successfully tested the world’s first 200 kW high-temperature PEM fuel cell system ahead of its installation on a methanol-powered vessel owned by Maersk. 

The landmark tests were completed at a facility in Denmark and demonstrate the capabilities of the technology, described as a “major breakthrough” for maritime decarbonisation efforts. 

Dennis Naldal Jensen, CTO at Blue World, said: “We are proving that the HT PEM fuel cell technology has the potential of being one of the key technologies to decarbonise the hard-to-abate sectors. 

“During the test period, we successfully validated our system setup with the methanol fuel processor, the series connection of the fuel cell stacks, as well as the balance of plant components surrounding the fuel cells” 

According to BlueWorld, the fuel cell system can provide fuel savings of 20-30% at a commercial stage, something that will be key for bringing down the costs related to green fuels. 

Following the successful tests, the first pilot project for the technology will see a 1MW system installed onto a Maersk dual-fuel vessel in the first half of 2026. 

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In addition to the pilot order, A.P. Moller Maersk has also invested into Blue World through the Danish maritime giant’s venture arm Maersk Growth, which was part of a pre-C-round of funding at the end of 2023. 

Alex Smout, investment director at Maersk Growth, said: “The maritime industry needs multiple new technologies and pathways to reach its net-zero targets, and high-temperature PEM fuel cell technology is very promising in finding a balance between the high electrical efficiency, size, and load adjustment.” 

Blue World’s initial orders will see it supply systems for auxiliary power, but the emerging company hopes to see its maritime system launched at a commercial level by 2027 as it builds up to supplying multi-megawatt propulsion systems. 

Maersk’s investment in Blue World’s fuel cell technology highlights the company’s significant interest in propelling methanol as a fuel, with the operator already launching the world’s first methanol-powered container vessels.