GE’s Power Conversion business and fuel cell manufacturer Nedstack have entered a partnership to develop hydrogen fuel cell power systems for powering zero-emission cruise vessels.

The partnership will see the combination of GE’s knowledge in cruise electrical power and propulsion solutions plus system integration capability with Nedstack’s experience in megawatt-scale hydrogen fuel cell technology for new fuel cell solutions.

Fuel cell power systems, which eliminate vessel exhaust gases, prevent the release of harmful pollutants in the atmosphere and in vulnerable port communities.

Nedstack CEO Arnoud van de Bree said: “Existing clean power solutions are focused on reducing emissions. Eliminating emissions altogether demands a paradigm shift.

“GE and Nedstack have been working extensively on the marinisation of fuel cell technology to create a total zero-emission alternative that truly meets the needs of tomorrow’s cruise industry.”

“GE and Nedstack have been working extensively on the marinisation of fuel cell technology to create a total zero-emission alternative.”

Under the partnership, GE and Nedstack plan to use the fuel cell technology on passenger ships, replacing traditional diesel engines with fuel cells and heavy fuel oil with hydrogen.

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GE’s variable speed hybrid electric drive system directs and manages the electricity produced by the hydrogen fuel cells. It also optimises control and efficiency.

GE Power Conversion business president and CEO Azeez Mohammed said: “Ships are increasingly being required to shut down their engines in port. We’ve seen this in California, for example, and China has introduced an emission control area in the Yangtse delta.

“However, the trend is shifting from emissions reduction to total elimination. Achieving this will take deep expertise and innovation – and that’s precisely what this collaboration between GE and Nedstack will deliver.”