China Shipbuilding Kickstarts Fuel Cell System Application on Tugboats


China Hydrogen Alliance


The 712th Research Institute of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (hereinafter referred to as "the 712th Institute") has successfully signed a contract for a 7000-horsepower hydrogen-electric tugboat hydrogen fuel cell system with Qingdao Port. This marks the first domestic application of hydrogen fuel cell technology on tugboats following the successful demonstration on the "Three Gorges Hydrogen Boat 1".



The vessel, funded by Shandong Port Qingdao Port Tug Company and constructed by Jiangsu Zhenjiang Shipyard (Group) Co., Ltd., features a hybrid power system combining hydrogen fuel cells and lithium batteries. The hydrogen fuel cell system, developed by the 712th Institute, is independently researched and developed with its key materials and core components, and has been certified by the China Classification Society (CCS).


The 712th Institute undertakes the research, design, manufacturing, testing, and overall assembly and adjustment of the ship's electric propulsion system and chemical power source. Its business scope includes integrated marine electricity, marine chemical power sources, hydrogen and fuel cells, new materials, and electromechanical equipment for transportation. In the field of hydrogen and fuel cells, leveraging Hubei Province and Wuhan City's industrial base advantages and long-term accumulation in the field of ship electric propulsion, the 712th Institute focuses on fuel cell stacks and systems, continuously carrying out technical research and demonstration applications. In February 2022, the 712th Institute independently developed the country's first 120 kW-class hydrogen catalytic combustion heating organic liquid hydrogen supply device, which was installed and matched with fuel cells, actively promoting its application in green ships and large-scale hydrogen storage and transportation. In May 2023, the 712th Institute achieved an international patent (Paris Convention) breakthrough in hydrogen and fuel cell technology. In October 2023, the 712th Institute received a "Marine Solid Oxide Fuel Cell" power generation system principle approval certificate from the China Classification Society. In the same month, the "Three Gorges Hydrogen Boat 1" equipped with its fuel cell system successfully made its maiden voyage in Yichang, Hubei. This project was recently selected as one of the "Top 20 National Heavy Equipment of 2023" by the News Center of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.


Based on the relative maturity of fuel cell technology and the advantage of clean emissions, China places high importance and actively promotes the exploration and application demonstration of fuel cell technology in the shipbuilding field. National policies such as the "Action Plan for Green Development of Shipbuilding Industry" and the "14th Five-Year Plan for Green Transportation Development" all include the development of hydrogen-powered ships. Over 30 provinces and cities including Beijing, Liaoning, and Zhoushan mention the development of hydrogen-powered ships in their special hydrogen policies and set targets. The domestic demonstration of hydrogen power is steadily progressing and achieving positive results.


Source: China Hydrogen Alliance

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