The HDW class 214 submarine has a fuel cell-generated power supply that allows it to operate fully on hydrogen, which has a number of benefits. The fuel cell, which produces electrical energy from oxygen and hydrogen, allows the submarine to cruise under water for weeks without resurfacing, while the battery power in conventional diesel-electric submarines typically depletes after a few days cruising under water.
In addition, Air Products said that the fuel cells do not emit any noise or noticeable exhaust heat, making the submarine virtually undetectable.
The fuelling technology is based on Air Products’ cryogenic hydrogen compressors (CHCs), which are used in conventional hydrogen supply systems.
The submarine was built by Hellenic Shipyards, part of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. The shipyard plans to build more fuel cell-powered submarines for the Hellenic Navy under a HDW license, and conventionally-powered vessels will also be fitted with hydrogen-powered fuel cells.