RiverCell demonstrator successfully completed.

December 2021, The shore based RiverCell Demonstrator has been successfully constructed and commissioned in a ship section of a river cruise vessel at the Neptun Werft in Rostock.  The project aims at developing and demonstrating a safe practical solution for a hybrid electric energy system for inland waterway ships using fuel cells in confined maritime applications. 

A significant milestone was recently reached with the prototype design of the marine fuel cell unit, the MFCU, as well as its integration into the novel energy system using methanol fuel successfully passing its safety testing, and the safety assessment successfully completed with DNV.

In the last year, extensive trialling of the novel systems developed has been able to provide valuable insights into the suitability and the challenges of hybrid powertrains with fuel cells.

In particular, significant experience has been gained on how hydrogen for fuel cells, in the form of methanol, can be safely and efficiently stored and handled on ships. The tests and trials on the RiverCell demonstrator have already been able to successfully demonstrate the high potential of the concept to minimise the environmental impact of energy production in a safe and practical way for shipping. The experience gained throughout the project is being contributed to the ongoing development of rules for fuel cell installations and storage of methanol fuel on inland waterway ships within the working group of CESNI/PT.

Building on the concepts and findings of RiverCell1, Meyer Werft and its RiverCell2 partners are planning the modular hybridisation of the total energy mix using fuel cells and alternative fuels for river cruise ships. RiverCell2 is designing a detailed test facility that it will pilot onshore in a ship test installation.


By the end of the project, construction and trialling should lead to further insights into the suitability, practical use and economic efficiency of hybrid powertrains. Furthermore, the project partners are hoping to substantially build their capacity for handling new fuels with low flashpoints.

Demonstrations will confirm the safety of operations and the findings will be fed into new regulations. In addition to cutting back on emissions, hybrid energy storage systems coupled with sustainable, fuel cell-driven energy production will boost shipping safety and efficiency. Furthermore, RiverCell2 addresses the public at large in a bid to showcase the feasibility and ecological benefits of complex hybrid powertrains with fuel cells.

Fuel cell: HT PEM

Fuel: Methanol, optional LNG

Project managed by: Meyer Werft

Project partnered by: DNV GL | HADAG | Helm AG | NEPTUN WERFT | Pella Sietas | Serenergy A/S | TU Berlin | Viking Technical

Project term: 01 April 2017 - 30 September 2019