AIDA Cruises partnered with leaders from the engineering and maritime sectors to pilot the first fuel cell system in the world designed to power large passenger ships.
As early as 2021, the cruise company will trial the innovative fuel technology aboard AIDAnova, becoming the first brand of the cruise industry to trial fuel cells on a large ship.
The research project, called “Pa-X-ell2,” is specially designed to develop fuel cells, powered by hydrogen derived from methanol, with the potential to supply power to cruise vessels at lower emissions levels than LNG (liquefied natural gas), the cleanest burning fossil fuel in the world. Designed by Freudenberg Sealing Technologies, these fuel cells are due to have a longer lifecycle than the ones currently being developed for automobiles. Early trials on land show a lifespan of more than 35,000 operating hours.
Created as a hybrid energy system for use in cruise liners, the fuel cells will be specially designed to enable benefits beyond lower emissions, including operating with lower vibration and noise. There is the potential in the future for the required methanol to be produced from renewable energy sources.