With a history of providing solid oxide fuel cell solutions to help companies procure clean energy on land, Bloom Energy (NYSE:BE) made waves yesterday when it announced the signing of a joint development agreement with Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI), a global leader in shipbuilding. The two companies will collaborate to design and develop ships, powered by fuel cells, with a goal of marketing a ship to customers in 2022.

Apparently, SHI has a considerable interest in incorporating fuel cell technology into its ships. Speaking to the potential of the clean energy solution, Haeki Jang, vice president of shipbuilding & drilling sales engineering at SHI, said that the company's "goal is to replace all existing main engines and generator engines with these highly efficient solid oxide fuel cells to align with the International Maritime Organization's 2030 and 2050 environmental targets."

A loaded cargo ship sails out of port.

Image source: Getty Images.

While Bloom Energy and SHI are only in the early innings of this endeavor, it's something that fuel cell investors should certainly keep tabs on considering the partnership's potential: annual installations of 300 megawatts (MW) on SHI's ships. For some context of how considerable this target is for Bloom Energy, consider the fact that the company, founded in 2001, had 380 MW of cumulative deployments at the end 2019.

Bloom Energy isn't the only fuel cell-focused company exploring marine applications for its technology. Last year, Ballard Power Systems (NASDAQ:BLDP) announced the formation of its Marine Center of Excellence in Denmark, where it plans to "design and manufacture heavy duty fuel cell modules to address zero-emission powertrain requirements for the marine industry." 

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