The collaboration comes as both parties acknowledge cruise industry's joint responsibility to eliminate the possible negative impacts it might have on port communities, the health of passengers and staff, and on the environment as a whole, while shipowners are already under pressure to comply with the 2020 sulphur cap.

GE and Nedstack envisage using fuel cell technology on passenger ships, replacing traditional diesel engines with fuel cells, and HFO with hydrogen.

This partnership brings together GE’s experience in cruise electrical power and propulsion plus system integration capability, with Nedstack’s experience in megawatt-scale hydrogen fuel cell technology.

So far, the companies have designed the concept for a two megawatt hydrogen fuel cell power plant on an expedition vessel. The review result has been highly positive.

The ultimate goal is a truly zero-emission system that will enable the world’s first sustainable, clean cruise ships.

...GE said in an official statement.

Frequently switching fuel cells on and off reduces their life expectancy – and this is a significant issue for vessels. To give some perspective, while a car’s fuel cell is expected to operate for 7,000 hours, for a ship it needs to go over 20,000 hours. Machine longevity is essential.

In response, GE’s variable drive, fuel cell system architecture and dedicated PMS are engineered to limit the switch on-and-off frequency of the fuel cells when sailing or in port. Indeed, optimizing the system and extending the fuel cells’ lifespan is key to coping with the five-year dry dock intervals that cruise ships demand.

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,

...says Azeez Mohammed, President and CEO, GE’s Power Conversion business.