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Stockholm Norvik Port trials methanol fuel cell smart navigation marker

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Stockholm Norvik Port has installed a methanol-powered smart navigation marker to guide vessel traffic in the fairway leading to the port.

The land-installed navigational marker, with an illuminated screen, has been equipped with a methanol fuel cell as part of the EU Intelligent Sea project.

One of four illuminated screens that guide vessel traffic in the fairway leading to Stockholm Norvik Port was equipped with the fuel cell unit in March.

The navigation markers have mobile network internet connection and can be monitored and controlled remotely.

The fuel cell, which runs on methanol, provides a back-up to the existing solar cell panels that power the functions of the navigational marker. 

The illuminated screens, that are the focus of the pilot trial, are powered by rechargeable batteries connected to solar cells.

However during much darker Nordic winters, the project is also developing possibilities to support the markers with methanol fuel cells at time of shortfalls of solar energy.

Jonas Andersson, Nautical Coordinator at Ports of Stockholm, said, “The methanol fuel cells help charge the batteries during the winter.

“This enables significantly higher energy use than the solar panels alone can generate, which in turn increases the possibilities to use supplementary equipment, such as weather stations, cameras and even 5G network connections.”

The small fuel cells have been on the market for a number of years – for example as back-up solutions for telecom systems and weather stations in remote locations – and for private use in boats and mobile homes.

However due to the salt in sea water’s corrosive impact on the fuel cell, the method has not been used widely in maritime.

To mitigate this, Artica has developed a filtered ventilation system that is now on trial in the Stockholm Norvik Port navigational marker.

Fredrik Lindstål, Chair of the Board at Ports of Stockholm, added, “This is an excellent example of how innovative and sustainable solutions are utilized at the modern Stockholm Norvik Port.

“Using exciting new technology from our suppliers, supported by EU funding, we have a climate smart solution that also contributes to improved maritime safety.”

The EU Intelligent Sea Project involves the Ports of Stockholm taking part with Port of Naantali and Finnish company Artica.

Artica has delivered all four of the digital smart navigation markers with illuminated screens that Ports of Stockholm is responsible for.

The EU Intelligent Sea Project will run from 2018 until 2022.

The project is funded by an EU grant from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme.

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