Due to potential benefits of high energy conversion efficiency and low noise/pollution, fuel cells have attracted many application areas. In general, fuel cells can be applied on-board ships as emergency power supply, electric energy generation, power output for propulsion or where appropriate, a combination of these uses. In this paper, a brief summary is presented for various fuel cells and their potential for marine applications. The characteristics and properties of fuel cells are compared with conventional energy systems, such as diesel engines and gas turbines, in terms of efficiency, power density, emissions etc. The significant barriers to implement fuel cell technology into marine applications are identified as well in this study. Fuel and the choice of suitable hydrogen supply are addressed. As a case study, a fuel cell stack applied to a ship propulsion system is discussed in details.

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