Wärtsilä and Versa Power have agreed to jointly develop fuel cell technology in commercial energy-producing applications by integrating solid oxide fuel cell modules in stand-alone energy-generation and marine products. 

Wärtsilä, a leading provider of power solutions to the marine and energy markets, and Versa Power Systems (VPS), a developer of high-power solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC), will work through a co-operative 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 in the distributed energy and marine markets. The agreement allows Wärtsilä to integrate VPS fuel cell stack modules, especially for larger power range products. For VPS, the agreement provides a dedicated partner with the ability to commercialise fuel cell products in large markets around the globe.  

“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.”

•Wärtsilä has already launched pilot projects using fuel cell technology supplied by Topsoe Fuel Cell A/S of Denmark, and this co-operation will continue as planned. In 2008, Wärtsilä delivered fo installation a unique fuel cell unit that operates on landfill gas and produces electricity and heat for the city of Vaasa in Finland.