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PHOTO CAPTION: Fuel Cell ferryboat Alsterwasser

German Fuel Cell Ferry Tallies Up 1,900 Hours of Service

Alsterwasser is propelled by two hydrogen fuel systems making use of 12 hydrogen fuel tanks, along with 560 V lead-gel battery backup.

Published: 28-Oct-2012

What is deemed the world’s first passenger ship powered by hydrogen fuel cells has quietly been plying the waters of Germany’s city of Hamburg now since 2009. The result of a collaborative project between the European Union and a coalition of other partners public and private to develop cleaner small cruise ships for navigating rivers in Europe, the FCS Alsterwasser is said to now have clocked about 1900 hours, or over 7000 miles, since it has been in service.

The ship, reported Maritime Propulsion (hat tip to Green Optimistic), is owned by ATG (Alster-Touristik GmbH) and used to take up to 100 passengers on the river Alster and the “inner-city waterways” of Hamburg, where it is based. It is propelled by two hydrogen fuel systems making use of 12 hydrogen fuel tanks. It can also fall back to a 560 V lead-gel battery should an alternative power source be needed.

The idea of the FCS Alsterwasser is captured in the concept of something called Zemships [PDF]. It is a model envisioned by the EU to “test practical emission-free ship operation and to promote the use of its technology for maritime applications.” This includes not only testing the viability of how these ships operate on the riverways, but also examining the corresponding infrastructure necessary to fuel and maintain boats powered by fuel cells.

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