Canadian Manufacturing

Italian cruise ship builder turns to fuel cells for cleaner, quieter ride

It has commissioned Nuvera to provide Orion Fuel Cell stacks by mid-2014.



BELLERICA, Mass.—Italian luxury cruise ship manufacturer is turning to fuel cells in an effort to make its vessels both cleaner and quieter.

Fincantieri S.p.A. is purchasing eight Orion Fuel Cell stacks from Nuvera Fuel Cells that will essentially provide its ships with the same technology that allows submarines to run without surfacing for oxygen.

The technology in question—air-independent propulsion (AIP)—creates electricity, which powers an electric motor for propulsion or recharges the ship’s batteries, providing the vessel’s occupants with a cleaner and quieter ride.

“Fuel cells provide an attractive value proposition to the marine industry,” said Giampaolo Sibilia, director of European Operations for Nuvera.

The Orion stacks are proton membrane fuel cells that provide power in a range between 10 and 200 kW.

Their use reduces a ship’s exhaust emissions, vibrations, noise and the cost of running a diesel-powered engine, Nuvera said, and noted that interest in fuel cells for marine applications has increased both as a result of environmental concerns and to improve engine reliability.

Fincantieri is no stranger to sea travel. The company has been around for 200 years and has built more than 7,000 ships in that time, including luxury vessels.

Nuvera says the fuel cell program is set to start in December and the Orion prototypes should be delivered to Ficantieri by mid next year.

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