Lürssen installs first fuel cell on a yacht

Lürssen is building its first yacht with fuel cell technology. The fuel cell is flanking the conventional generators and, says the company, is a big step to an emission-free Lürssen yacht.

The technology makes it possible to anchor emission-free for 15 days or cruise 1,000 miles at slow speed.

“My grandfather built the world’s first motorboat in 1886, my dream is to be the first to build a yacht without a combustion engine,” says Peter Lürssen.

In the meantime, Lürssen has set-up an innovation laboratory to simulate and test the integration and operation of a marine hybrid fuel cell system on board a yacht powered by methanol.

“The Innovation Laboratory will be ready in summer 2021 and under real life ambient conditions and with all required auxiliary systems we consider this demonstration plant to be the final preparations to bring fuels cells on board a yacht successfully,” says Dr. Justus Reinke, MD. “It will definitely bring us a step closer to a CO2 emission free Lürssen yacht.”

Since 2005 Lürssen has been involved in research projects aimed at using fuel cells on ships in order to advance sustainable shipbuilding.

“We don’t just want to use the latest technology on our yacht – we want to advance the status quo. And in order to change things, you have to be active,” says Peter Lürssen.

Lürssen has committed to a strategic partnership with Freudenberg, one of the leading experts for maritime fuel cells.

“With Freudenberg we have a strong partner at our side. We both have the aim to bring fuel cells on-board ships in the near future and revolutionise the yacht’s energy and propulsion system,” says Lürssen.

Lürssen’s and Freudenberg’s concept is a fuel cell driven by hydrogen which is continuously reformed from methanol. The choice of methanol rather than elemental hydrogen has been made due to its higher energy density, the simplicity of handling and easy worldwide availability. But most importantly, methanol can be stored in structural tanks in the double bottom of a yacht. This is in contrast to pressurised or liquefied hydrogen which requires valuable space above the tank top and extensive tank structures.

Main image courtesy of Lürssen, but it is not the yacht with fuel cell technology.

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