The U214 submarine will
have increased diving depth
and an improvement in AIP performance
November 7, 2004 While fuel cell automobiles promise reduced emissions on land, the high seas have long enjoyed a virtual amnesty from air emission regulations. There is no effective way to regulate pollution emmissions from ships, yet the fuel cell has a bright future under the water as the best alternative to nuclear energy. The fuel cell has many advantages for submarines, the most compelling being that of completely silent running. A fuel cell submarine such as the new 212 and 214 from HDW can lurk beneath the waves invisibly for three weeks at a time. Unlike other non-nuclear submarine variants such as gas turbine and diesel engines, fuel cells can also be distributed throughout a ship for increased design flexibility, which in turn reduces shipbuilding costs. The company that makes this new monster also made the world's first wartime submarine, and is now offering retrofits.