Hydrogen Powers Greece's First Fuel Cell Submarine

The fuel cell, which produces electrical energy from oxygen and hydrogen, allows the new submarine to cruise under water for weeks without resurfacing.

Published: 15-Jul-2007

Air Products, in partnership with Hellas Air Pro Ltd., recently supplied a new state of the art submarine of the Hellenic Navy with hydrogen. This is the first fueling of this kind in Greece and took place in Skaramanga, near Athens. Prior to this event, Air Products had supplied the integral components of the hydrogen fueling station to Howaldtswerke -- Deutsche Werft GmbH (HDW), who owns the design of the submarine and who supplied the fueling station to Greece.

The HDW Class 214 submarine has a fuel cell-generated power supply, allowing it to operate entirely on hydrogen. The fuel cell, which produces electrical energy from oxygen and hydrogen, allows the new submarine to cruise under water for weeks without resurfacing. Conventional diesel-electric submarines typically deplete their battery power after a few days cruising under water. In addition, the fuel cell makes no noise and produces no detectable exhaust heat, in turn making the submarine virtually undetectable.

The fueling technology is based on Air Products' unique cryogenic hydrogen compressors (CHCs), which are used in conventional hydrogen supplies, as well as in bus fueling applications.

"We are paving the way to the future hydrogen economy, by already supplying liquid hydrogen from Central Europe, as far as Ireland, Italy, Spain and Israel. By supplying liquid hydrogen as well as fueling equipment, we are able to offer a complete and safe package to our customers. We are proud to have already supplied hydrogen fueling equipment, as well as liquid hydrogen, to fuel submarines from the German Navy and now the Hellenic Navy, and we hope more will adopt this revolutionary technology soon," said Ian Williamson, general manager-Future Energy Solutions, Air Products Europe.

Air Products is an industry leader in hydrogen safety and engineering, and a global leader in hydrogen production and distribution, as well as the industry leader in hydrogen fueling stations for clean transportation applications. Over the past 10 years, the company has developed over 70 hydrogen fueling installations in the United States, Korea, Singapore, Japan, Italy, Germany and India. Over 33,000 vehicle fuelings have already taken place using Air Products' technology.

The submarine was built by Hellenic Shipyards S.A., part of the new North European shipyard concern ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, who also owns HDW. Hellenic Shipyards is planning to build further fuel cell-powered submarines for the Hellenic Navy, under a HDW license. Additional contracts are in place to add plug-in fuel cell sections into conventional driven submarines.

Air Products also supplies industrial gases and associated equipment to a variety of other industries, including metals processing, refining, chemical production, fat and oils production and electronics processing, as well as supplying hydrogen purification equipment.

Air Products serves customers in technology, energy, healthcare and industrial markets worldwide with a unique portfolio of products, services and solutions, providing atmospheric gases, process and specialty gases, performance materials and chemical intermediates. Founded in 1940, Air Products has built leading positions in key growth markets such as semiconductor materials, refinery hydrogen, home healthcare services, natural gas liquefaction, and advanced coatings and adhesives. The company is recognized for its innovative culture, operational excellence and commitment to safety and the environment and is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability and FTSE4Good Indices. The company has annual revenues of $9 billion, operations in over 40 countries, and over 20,000 employees around the globe. For more information, visit

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