Potential Role of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells for Maritime Applications: Ferries and Towboats

Hydrogen and fuel cells are being investigated as a potential option to reduce emissions from maritime applications.  However, to gain acceptance and have an impact, hydrogen and fuel cells must compete economically with the incumbent technology, diesel engines fueled with low sulfur marine gas oil (LSMGO). The authors have calculated the total cost of ownership (TCO) for diesel and fuel cell ships and compare these for several potential maritime applications, a ferry, a harbor tug, and river towboat.  The applications were selected since they have operational duty that should emphasize the efficiency advantages of fuel cells and provide good opportunities for fuel cells to compete on an economic basis.  The authors' results indicate that harbor tugs offer the best case for fuel cells, with a TCO slightly higher than that for the diesel-LSMGO tug at a hydrogen cost of $4/kg. Small open-ended ferries present another case where fuel cells can be competitive. The TCO is higher for the FC ship than the diesel ship, however the small price difference per passenger may be acceptable. For pushboats with longer trip distances, fuel costs are the dominant factor in the TCO. For fuel cells to become more competitive for these applications, hydrogen costs must decrease below the DOE target of $4/kg, or alternatively, LSMGO costs need to increase.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 13p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01763793
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: TRBAM-21-02970
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 23 2020 11:11AM