There’s nothing the people of Hamburg can do about their weather – but they can help their climate. In fact, this is where the FCS Alsterwasser, the first ever emission-free and climate friendly inland passenger vesselhas been sailing since August 2008. The terminology FCS stands for Fuel Cell Ships. On trips on the Alster (the city’s largest lake and inland waterway), the ship emits nothing but water: no soot, no oil and no CO2–just H2O. The boat is the prototype for a new Generation of pollutant-free, fuel cell driven vessels known as Zero Emission Ships.
The Zemships project was given the all-go in 2006, when a joint project was initiated involving nine companies and institutes. Building on the ship started only about a year later and, just eight months after launching, the fuel cell vessel was christened the FCS Alsterwasser at the ship naming ceremony in August 2008.The service suitability of this unusual “steamer” is to be tested on the Alster initially up to 2010, on regular excursions run by Alster Touristik GmbH. To make sure the EU-supported project does not run aground, all the vessel’s operating data are being collected for scientific analysis.
Fuel cell = efficient energy + environmental protection
The fuel cells used were specially developed for the FCS Alsterwasser. Their special features are that they are extremely powerful as well as shudder resistant.The vessel has two fuel cell systems, each with an outputof 48 kW, which propel the motor via the battery’s buffer store at up to 100 kW (ca. 130 horsepower).Until now, fuel cell technology has mostly been used on board military submarines and smaller vessels with an
engine power of under 5 kW. One of the aims of the Zemships project is to demonstrate that larger, more powerful ships can be propelled by fuel cell systems as well.