Project: AUXILIARY POWER GENERATOR BASED ON PEM FUEL CELL FOR NAUTIC APPLICATIONS

The aim of the project is to realize and test an auxiliary power fuel cell generator to provide the typical electrical power needed for feeding a sailing yacht. This generator should generate a constant, reliable source of power (up to 100 W @ 12VDC), maximize power density (up to 300 Wh/kg), reduce to zero noise and emissions and being ruggedized to operate in marine environment._x000D_ Sailing is a great and exhilarating experience, but direct contact with the nature can be compromised by unreliable, short-term and noisy diesel and secondary battery power sources. In recent times there has been an increased call for mounted devices on board, requesting additional power sources. A unique adventure may be even more compromised by an inadequate power source; experience of smell and noise for a long voyage affects the entire spirit of the adventure and eventually the limited residual capacity of the battery obliges one to limit a sailing plan. _x000D_ Fuel cells can provide power where no electric grid is available, plus they are quiet, so using one instead of a loud, polluting generator at a campsite would not only save emissions, but it won't disturb nature._x000D_ The market for portable generator based on fuel cell technologies is estimated to increase consistently in the near future not only in the nautical application, but also in the emergency, biomedical, oil&gas, caravan telecom with unit operating as battery charger, APU or UPS in off-grid remote application. The estimated market just for the telecom industry is up to 1 million of units. Even if the unit developed in MARIPEM project will be qualified to be utilized in marine application, the modularity of the technology will allow to extend the application with higher power demand._x000D_ The recreational craft industry is not only growing but becoming more accessible to the average consumer. World-wide the largest market is the USA, worth over ten million euro annually, and, maybe surprisingly, the second largest being Italy, worth nearly one and a half million euro annually. Although the power_x000D_ requirements are substantially reduced compared to large ocean-going craft the power set-up is the same, with diesel engines and a generator powering a battery._x000D_ MARIPEM intends to bring the experience of a consortium composed by two SMEs, GENPORT srl (Italy) and SRE (Portugal). _x000D_ INEGI (Portugal), LNEG (Portugal) are two research institutes specialized in the renewable energies and mechanical testing which support the SME in the design and testing of the hydrogen storage system while the Department of Chemistry, Materials & Chemical Engineering "G. Natta” of Politecnico di Milano (POLIMI), will be committed to the engineering of a new Gas Diffusion Medium._x000D_ The final prototypes will be an innovative high energy density, compact, smooth, emission-free and vibration-free generator base of PEMFC technology to be utilized as an auxiliary power unit for yacht application . This devices will be integrated with a solid hydrogen storage unit as well as with high pressure H2 vessels to guarantee a sufficient reserve of energy, which might be part of an onboard renewable PV system._x000D_ Four ruggedized units will be realized in MARIPEM project which will be mounted into a test apparatus to simulate the real nautical environment and validate the performance in dynamic trim. _x000D_ The overall weight of units realized during MARIPEM project, will be less then 20 Kg including an high pressure hydrogen storage to operate as Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) and will generate more then 1500 Wh in 24 hours, which is the typical yacht electrical power consumption when sailing. _x000D_ High energy density (> 300 Wh/kg) as well as durability and reliability of the fuel cell generator depends heavily on the material stack technology, the fuel cell's balance of plant design, the choice and design of the hydrogen vessel suitable for the overall energy demand._x000D_ The Politecnico di Milano will engineer an innovative gas diffusion media to keep uniform the single cell voltages, to properly manage the generated heat, to improve the electrical conductivity as well as the management of the water generated inside the Membrane Electrode Assemblies . This critical material will be embedded by the two SMEs (SRE, GENPORT) into their owned stack technology. _x000D_ GENPORT will realized the stack components (MEAs) utilizing the innovative GDMs designed by POLIMI; SRE and GENPORT will assemble components to make a stack and balance of plant. _x000D_ Four PEMFC large portable generators 100 W will be realized by SRE and GENPORT; these systems will be integrated with a NaBH4, Metal Hydrate and compressed hydrogen sub-unit designed and realized by LNEG_x000D_ The systems will be mounted into an ruggedized case to obtain sea protections._x000D_ INEGI will engineer and realize a testing unit to simulate dynamic trim during yacht navigation, and the four generators performance will be compared.

Acronym MARIPEM (Reference Number: 4704)
Duration 06/04/2009 - 31/03/2012
Project Topic The aim of the project is to realize a lightweight APU fuel cell generator which maximizes power density, provides a constant, reliable source of power to electrical equipment of a yacht, reduce to zero noise and emissions when operating in marine environmental conditions.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 2

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
5 GENPORT srl Coordinator Italy
5 Institute Of Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Management Partner Portugal
5 Laboratorio Nacional de Energia e Geologia, I.P. Partner Portugal
5 Soluções Racionais de Energia, SA Partner Portugal
5 Politecnico di Milano - Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Enigineering "G.Natta" Partner Italy