TECO Progresses on Fuel Cell Development for Maritime & Heavy-Duty Use; New AVL Test Center in Austria Part of the Process 

After three years in development, TECO of Norway is getting ready to show its 400kW fuel cell module designed for marine and heavy-duty use 

TECO 2030 of Norway says that its FCM400, now in testing at AVL’s new hydrogen and fuel cell testing facility in Austria, is the world’s most compact and efficient inherently safe marine fuel cell system. Its built-in gas safety features and power capabilities make it an ideal choice for seamless integration on board a ship to enable zero-emission generation, says the company as it continues to build market penetration for its products. 

Tore Enger, CEO of TECO 2030 

“We are getting ready to show our hydrogen fuel cell system to the world and deliver zero-emission solutions to our clients with the most sophisticated fuel cell system available for marine and heavy-duty applications,” says Tore Enger, CEO of TECO Group. Attributes of the modular 400kW fuel cell system include industry leading energy efficiency, inherent safety concept, leading dimensions and component design, lifetime, and rapid dynamic load response, said Enger, giving this overview of its development. 

Safety is always the key priority, says the company. The system has been developed along with an inherent safety concept so that the design and operation minimize consequence of potential hazards. This includes a separate and independent safety system, venting arrangement, certified and field proven components, and robust containment systems. 

It has the lowest footprint on the market when calculating power output per unit volume, meaning that there is no other supplier of similar energy density for marine and heavy-duty applications, reports the company. Real estate onboard a ship or similar sites is limited so the importance of energy density is key to many of TECO 2030’s clients and partners. The FCM400 has a dynamic load which relates to the ability of the fuel cell to rapidly respond to changes in power demand, which is important for mobility and grid applications where power requirements can change swiftly. 

Enger commented on the system as he recognized a milestone of testing company AVL on October 13.  

“I am proud to elaborate on our world-leading fuel cell technology on AVL’s 75th anniversary and showcase our FCM400 which is currently at their premises in Graz, Austria. There is no one in the world who has developed a fuel cell system with similar power efficiency, safety concept or power density as we have achieved. Our fuel cell isn’t just resilient, it is practically invincible and can be used for whatever high-power application needed. The system is easily scalable in power increments of 400kW, and can be utilized in multimegawatt power source applications.” 

AVL hydrogen and fuel cell test center in Graz 

AVL officially opened the center in September, 2022 at its company headquarters, greatly expanding its global test infrastructure for fuel cell and hydrogen technology while establishing one of the largest and most advanced test sites for fuel cells and electrolysis systems in the world. 

 The 600-square-meter test facility provides space for up to 20 testbeds and, with a total capacity of up to 2 megawatts, is one of the most powerful facilities of its kind in the world. One of the unique highlights of the test center is the ability to test polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell systems with an output of up to 400 kilowatts, corresponding to the scale of high-tech hydrogen concepts that will be used in heavy-duty transport in the future. For stationary and electrolysis applications, testbeds with a capacity of up to 1 megawatt are foreseen. 

PEM stacks up to 200 kilowatts can also be tested in the center, along with system, subsystem and component tests for solid oxide fuel cells, solid oxide electrolysis cells and PEM electrolysis. AVL also operates a newly built fuel cell test center in Vancouver, Canada while another is under construction in Kecskemet, Hungary. 

Market penetration 

Meanwhile, TECO continues to pursue product placements and market penetration. Two deals forged this summer stand out. In August, it signed a memorandum of understanding with an undisclosed “renowned European motor company”. The agreement sets a pathway to collaborate with ongoing and future projects. TECO will support the partner with FCM400 modules for their development of an integrated containerized fuel cell system for their market segments. The agreement also includes utilizing the FCM400 module within their ongoing projects to ensure a solid partnership and collaboration platform in the years to come. The partner company intends to then sell and promote the solution under their brand, supported by TECO. 

Horizon Europe project to demonstrate maritime hydrogen and fuel cell operation 

n July, Horizon Europe funded a group project for EUR 13.5 million that includes a passenger ferry powered by TECO fuel cells. The grant amount reserved for TECO is EUR 2.3 million. The principal goal of the project is to accelerate the transition towards safe use of sustainable fuels in waterborne transport through full-scale demonstration of hydrogen fuel cells and infrastructure within maritime applications. The consortium consists of 14 partners from seven European countries covering the whole innovation value chain, including technology developers, academic institutions, maritime engineering, class society, digital transformation and a shipyard. 

“I’m proud to announce that we have won our second Horizon Europe project! Winning two EU-projects out of two attempts is an extraordinary achievement, and I would like to thank our partners and our internal proposal writing team for their strong efforts,” said Fredrik Aarskog, Director of Business Development, TECO 2030. 

Expected to begin around January 2024, the project aims to develop, build and demonstrate a 35 meter, 300 passenger capacity vessel that will be powered by TECO’s FCM400 system. The vessel will be operated in southern Europe. The consortium partners will develop the entire value chain for full operation including a hydrogen refueling system, infrastructure, cost optimization during operations and efficient data management. 

For more info, see www.teco2030.no, www.avl.com, and www.research-and-innovation.ec.europa.eu