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  • 2022 November 17 16:18

    ZEUS is the first RINA Classed Ship capable to be propelled by hydrogen

    The research project TecBIA (Technologies with Low Environmental Impact for the production of energy on naval vessels) by Fincantieri, co-financed by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, aims to validate the sustainable technology of fuel cells for naval applications through the construction of the prototype ship named ZEUS (Zero Emission Ultimate Ship) with hybrid propulsion. Zeus was classified by RINA in October 2022 as the first RINA Classed ship capable to be propelled by Hydrogen, according to RINA's release.

    The aim of the research is to find sustainable and low environmental impact solutions for cruise ships, mega-yachts, ferries and oceanographic research vessels by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and particulate matter.

    About 25 meters long and weighing about 170 tons, ZEUS’s primary objective is that of a floating laboratory to study fuel cells, electrochemical conversion devices, which generate electricity and heat without thermal combustion. The ship is equipped with a hybrid propulsion system consisting of two diesel generators and two electric motors. In addition, there is a 144-kW fuel cell system, powered by about 50 kg of hydrogen contained in metal hydride cylinders, and a lithium battery system. This configuration will allow the ship to sail for approximately eight hours at a speed of 7.5 knots in zero emission mode, using the electricity supplied by the fuel cells, or to sail for approximately another four hours at a speed of four knots in mode zero noise, using batteries.

    This project confirms that the use of hydrogen is a possible solution (especially for short sea application) to produce the required propulsion energy with no CO2 emission.

    The TecBIA project was attended by many entities: Fincantieri, Isotta Fraschini Motori, Cetena, Seastema, the CNR, the Universities of Genoa, Palermo and Naples, ENR and RINA.

    The technologies developed during the project can be applied to different types of marine units, from inland waters units, with relatively low energy requirements, to large cruise ships, supporting the electrical load for the accommodation or the operation of the ship for limited periods at low speed.




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