The components of the string test have been assembled on site at PSW Power’s facility at Ågotnes in Norway and consortium partner Kongsberg Maritime has started carrying out a comprehensive range of commissioning, safety and verification tests, assisted by Ballard Power Systems. As the fuel cells themselves are being run, the string test site is getting regular deliveries of compressed hydrogen at 200 bar from Linde Gas. This testing includes the various components that make up the safety system, including the hydrogen gas detectors (shown below next to the fuel cells), alarms and emergency shutdown systems.
As with any project, the tests have highlighted issues that need to be addressed, and various troubleshooting activities are also underway. Once all these are completed satisfactorily, a full suite of system validation tests will be carried out, simulating how the system would be used in an actual ship.
However even at this stage of testing, the team has accumulated extensive experience of integrating fuel cells and batteries into a marine propulsion system, and the work will help lay the foundation for safe, reliable and optimised use of hydrogen fuel cells on ships.
The tests have attracted great interest from maritime stakeholders, and there have already been limited demonstrations of the system to curious shipowners.
Stay tuned for an announcement soon for the formal launch of the string test where we will demonstrate the system to a much wider audience.