Hybrid Fuel Cell Battery Powertrain design for Workboats with Ecomar Propulsion

Driving the next generation towards zero carbon

The Centre for Future Clean Mobility partners with businesses to develop low-emissions, high-efficiency integrated power systems for applications in the aerospace, automotive, marine, and rail sectors.

Project overview

The main aim of the project was to expedite the shift towards environmentally friendly marine shipping and to enhance the credibility of battery-hydrogen hybrid propulsion systems as a sustainable substitute for conventional diesel engines. Serco, Ecomar Propulsion, and the Royal Navy collaborated with CFCM, driven by their collective vision to investigate alternative fuels and create zero-emission propulsion drivetrains. 

In order to showcase the viability of this approach, a full-scale replica of the engine room from Serco’s SD Newhaven, a Crew Transfer Vessel (CTV) operated on behalf of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), was built. The team accomplished the retrofitting of this space with a fully operational battery-hydrogen hybrid propulsion system. Extensive bench testing was conducted to ensure that the system could effectively meet the operational requirements of the vessel in its specific operating environment.

CFCM and Ecomar Propulsion collaborated on the powertrain design, utilising CFCM’s unique simulation code capable of optimising for specific applications. The emphasis on optimisation is crucial to ensure that the hardware design and control strategy align perfectly with the intended use of the vessels right from the start.

This project was carried out under the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC), a 0.5 MW system was built under CMDC1 and this was scaled up to 1 MW under CMDC2. 

The successful completion of this project has enabled Ecomar Propulsion to transform it into a marketable product. These hybrid systems are positioned to be a strong competitor to diesel-based systems.

"Ecomar and CFCM have been working closely together for a number of years and we have seen how the growth in clean maritime has gone from a trickle to a flood. Throughout that time we have been able to maintain advantages thanks to the advanced capability of CFCM and the close partnership we have developed."

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