Torqeedo integrating hydrogen fuel cell with Deep Blue system

Torqeedo today announced a collaboration with Proton Motor Fuel Cell GmbH to integrate hydrogen fuel cell charging into Torqeedo’s existing Deep Blue battery-electric drive systems.

“The hydrogen-electric Deep Blue Hybrid system will provide a practical and cost-effective solution that will allow for fast fuelling, overcome speed and range limitations, and will meet the most restrictive emission requirements on environmentally sensitive waterways or in urban areas,” said Jochen Czabke, senior vice president product development and global service for Torqeedo GmbH.

The two Bavaria-based companies have received funding from the Bavarian federal government for the project, which has the working title of “Ma-Hy-Hy” (Marine-Hydrogen-Hybrid).

Proton has been developing hydrogen fuel cells for a quarter of a century for use as energy storage in stationary land applications, automotive rail and marine. Stationary applications are still their main focus, for things like emergency power for critical infrastructures, but they are rapidly expanding into emobility as the field grows.

Propulsion power ranges from 50 to 200 kW

One of their newer products is a range of cells in the power range of 21 kW to 213 kW for electrified commercial vehicles such as trucks and buses. They also have a smaller system for personal cars – Fuel Cell Range Extended Electric Vehicles (FC REEV). In the maritime arena, they have created systems for the ZEUS (Zero Emission Ultimate Ship) research vessel and a Zemships (Zero Emission Ships) ferry in Hamburg.

Torqeedo, of course, is the world’s market leader in electric propulsion for marine use of every sort – from 1 kW kayak motors to 10 kW Cruze electric outboards to saildrives and pods to the Deep Blue system, with a range of motors from 25 kW to 100 kW. It is the Deep Blue hybrid system that will be integrated with Proton’s technology.

For some long range sailing in open waters, electric boat motors require an alternative energy source when the batteries have been discharged. This can be a hydrogeneration system that temporarily converts the motor to a turbine when a sailboat is under wind power, or a diesel generator.

Hydrogen fuel cells replace diesel generators

Hydrogen fuel cells can replace those diesel gensets and all of the fumes and emissions. Instead of generating electricity by burning fossil fuel, fuel cells combine stored hydrogen and oxygen from the atmosphere in a catalytic process that  creates electricity to drive the motor, some heat, and water as an exhaust.

There are Toyota fuel cells helping the Energy Observer research sail around the world on wind, solar and electric power, and theircommercialization arm, EO DEV, is installing a fuel cell generator on a Fountaine Pajot SAMANA 59′ catamaran to power the boat’s ‘hotel load’ – things like the galley, other on-board appliances, lighting and air conditioning.

The new Torqeedo/Proton system will be designed to provide propulsion power ranges from 50 to 200 kW and fuel cell power of 30 to 120 kW and will have flexible options for hydrogen storage. A prototype system will be tested and validated at Torqeedo’s engineering centre near Munich. The companies expect to undertake collaborative marketing and industrialization of the system following the successful end of the development project.

“Integrating alternative fuels like hydrogen gives us yet another tool in the Deep Blue toolkit,” said Czabke. “We look forward to delivering a zero-emission hybrid-electric propulsion system that will enhance the range and performance of our battery-powered drives without the use of fossil fuels.”

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