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Nuvera Fuel Cells to provide Fincantieri with fuel cell technology for marine vessels

US-based Nuvera Fuel Cells is working with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri on a programme to power high-end marine vessels with advanced fuel cell technology.

Nuvera has been commissioned to produce and deliver eight Orion™ hydrogen PEM fuel cell stacks (total power 260 kW), which will be used as range-extenders for use on luxury marine vessels.

The programme is scheduled to begin in December 2013, with Nuvera aiming to complete delivery of the Orion fuel cell stack prototype units by mid-2014.

Nuvera’s fuel cell auxiliary power units (APUs) will provide marine vessels with air-independent propulsion (AIP). This is the same technology used in non-nuclear submarines, which allows them to operate without the need to surface for oxygen.

AIP generates electricity, which in turn drives an electric motor for propulsion or for recharging the boat’s batteries. This technology offers silent operation, a major benefit in the world of luxury sea travel.

‘Fuel cells provide an attractive value proposition to the marine industry,’ says Giampaolo Sibilia, Director of European Operations for Nuvera Fuel Cells. ‘This important programme with Fincantieri not only validates the benefits of Orion technology in sea-based transportation, but fulfils a specific need in the marine world – to make sea travel cleaner and quieter.’

Fincantieri – which has coordinated the construction of more than 7000 seagoing vessels in its 200-year history – selected Nuvera’s Orion fuel cell stack technology for its performance and durability.

Interest in hydrogen fuel cells for marine applications has grown as the marine industry looks for new ways to tackle environmental concerns and improve engine reliability. The usage of hydrogen fuel cells in marine vessels reduces exhaust emissions, vibrations, noise, and costs associated with diesel-powered sea travel.

Nuvera’s line of Orion proton-exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) stacks offer best-in-class power density in sizes ranging from 10 kW to 300 kW. Orion offers superior performance and durability in a compact package that can be integrated into industrial mobility, automotive, aerospace, and marine applications.

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