Since the early days of submarining, increasing submerged endurance has been a key goal. Now the dream of staying submerged for almost unlimited periods has come true for non-nuclear submarines.
Air-independent propulsion (AIP) is the answer. Our proven HDW fuel cell system delivers a unique AIP solution for direct integration into new submarine designs. Fuel cells are energy converters that transform chemical energy directly to electrical current without noise or combustion. In these fuel cells hydrogen and oxygen stored on board combine to produce water while giving off electricity (DC). The electrical energy is fed directly into the submarine's main switchboard. The HDW fuel cell system is specially designed as a silent energy converter and extension to a conventional propulsion system. Its modular layout is just as simple as the principle itself. As it produces no exhaust gases and very little dissipated heat, the HDW fuel cell is the only AIP system that can perform in a closed boat, irrespective of diving pressure and with no deteriorating influence on the submarine's signature.
The large number of submarines already operating or under construction with HDW fuel cell propulsion systems clearly indicates how well accepted this technology is among navies worldwide. Low noise and infrared signatures, high efficiency and low maintenance requirements make HDW fuel cell plants the ideal AIP solution for new non-nuclear submarines.