MSC World Europa

Bloom Energy fuel cells demonstrate increase in efficiency in first major marine deployment

Bloom Energy, a US-based green energy company, has revealed that, in the first major marine deployment, its fuel cells demonstrated a significant increase in electrical efficiency.

Courtesy of MSC Cruises

The 150kW solid oxide fuel cell platform provided auxiliary power to the luxury cruise ship called MSC World Europa while in port using liquefied natural gas (LNG). The ship, operated by MSC Cruises and built by a French shipbuilding company Chantiers de l’Atlantique (CdA), was docked in Qatar in November and December for the 2022 World Cup.

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Bloom Energy said that the Bloom Energy Server™ demonstrated 60% electrical efficiency while the ship was in port, a significant improvement over existing high-efficiency power systems, as well as a reduction of carbon emissions by 30% with no methane slippage.

It noted that, while the MSC installation was geared towards proving the efficacy of Bloom system’s in-port operations, the fuel cells also achieved full power output during the vessel’s maiden voyage between Saint-Nazaire, France, and Qatar while in the Mediterranean Sea.

Besides reporting about fuel cells effectiveness, Bloom and CdA have announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on developing future multi-MW installations on board marine vessels.

Suminder Singh, Senior Director, Marine, Bloom Energy, said: “Bloom Energy fuel cells have shown their effectiveness in decarbonising land-based industries. With the deployment by CdA, we have now proven that they will be effective in decarbonising shipping, both in port and on the high seas.”

Laurent Castaing, General Manager, CdA, stated: “We are firmly committed to leading the shipbuilding industry in its transition to a more environmentally friendly future. The in-port performance of Bloom Energy’s fuel cells shows that we have charted the right course to making this a reality. We look forward to having Bloom Energy on board for the future.”

According to Bloom Energy, using Bloom fuel cells for so-called hoteling power sharply reduces in-port pollution, an important step towards the goal of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to reduce shipping’s greenhouse gas emissions by half compared to 2008 levels.

The company said its future-proof platform is IMO 2040- and 2050-ready, with the ability to operate on LNG, blended hydrogen, ammonia, and hydrogen. The Energy Server platform has passed two safety reviews, the American Bureau of Shipping’s New Technology Qualification Process and Bureau Veritas.

Bloom added it is working with customers to design fuel cell-based power delivery architecture that will operate in engine parallel mode, while the ship is sailing, and transition hotel loads 100% to fuel cells when the ship is docked at the port.

In January 2023, Bloom partnered up with Telam Partners, a senior advisory firm specialised in the financing and market entry of energy, infrastructure, and technology projects, to expand its services, which include Bloom’s Energy Servers, into Spain and Portugal.

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