Alfa Laval starts up small-scale methanol fuel cell system

By Becky Schultz08 September 2022

Successful testing of methanol-fueled HT-PEM system paves the way for further scale-up

Alfa Laval Test & Training Centre The first stage of the project - a 10 kW (2 x 5 kW) installation - has been running at the Alfa Laval Test & Training Centre since July. (Photo: Alfa Laval)

Alfa Laval has announced the Q2 2022 startup of a small-scale methanol fuel cell system at its Test & Training Centre in Aalborg, Denmark. Based on positive results, the project is now on track for a 200 kW installation.

The marine fuel cell development project funded by the Danish Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program (EUDP) aims to provide an efficient, cost-effective energy solution based on high-temperature proton exchange membrane (HT-PEM) fuel cells. Alfa Laval is responsible for the overall system infrastructure as well as the distribution systems needed to support the fuel cells.

The fuel cell system being developed uses carbon-neutral renewable methanol and comprises modules of HT-PEM fuel cell stacks that can be combined in racks of 200 kW to create a standardized, scalable system. In the current phase of testing, two modules containing one fuel cell stack each, making up a 10 kW (2 x 5 kW) installation, are being run with the distribution systems. The operational data will be used to fine-tune the 200 kW module and rack setup.

The first stage of the project has been running at the Alfa Laval Test & Training Centre since July. “Although this first installation is small, it allows us to test the basic setup and the function of the supporting equipment,” says Alfa Laval’s Jeroen van Riel, business development manager, Marine Energy Solutions. “The data compiled so far is very promising, which suggests that we can move into the next stage as planned.

“The project will lead to an integrated, safe and marine-certified product for application on tomorrow’s green ships,” he continued. “Within the near future, it will offer a realistic alternative to combustion-based auxiliary power on board.”

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