Wärtsilä and Versa to jointly develop fuel cell technology

03 Jun 2011

Wärtsilä, together with Versa Power Systems (VPS), a developer of environmentally friendly, high-power solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC), have concluded an agreement to develop and integrate Versa Power's SOFC technology into Wärtsilä products.

A key target of the agreement is to develop commercial Wärtsilä fuel cell products that generate power and heat for various applications, including in the marine markets. The agreement allows Wärtsilä to integrate VPS fuel cell stack modules, especially for larger power range products, while VPS gains access to Wärtsilä’s commercial global network.

Wärtsilä says that advancing and commercialising fuel cell products is part of its long-term development strategy to offer customers environmentally sound and sustainable energy production technologies. It has already launched successful pilot projects using fuel cell technology supplied by Topsoe Fuel Cell of Denmark, and this co-operation will continue as planned. Other Wartsila fuel cell projects include a unit operating on landfill gas to produce electricity and heat for the city of Vaasa in Finland, and a WFC20 unit onboard the Wallenius PCTC Undine. The company has developed 50kW WFC50 power units for internal validation.

"VPS is leading the development of large SOFC stacks, and the company's capabilities support Wärtsilä's strategy of developing large SOFC systems for the distributed power and marine markets. The agreement with VPS strengthens Wärtsilä's ability to provide its customers with clean and highly efficient power solutions. Demand is developing rapidly and the commercial potential for such products is very promising," says Erkko Fontell, director, fuel cells, Wärtsilä.

"Solid oxide fuel cells have low emissions, yet they produce relatively large amounts of electricity for their size," says Robert Stokes, CEO of Versa Power Systems. "Combining the expertise of our two companies will help meet the growing commercial demand for compact, high-efficiency products."

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