In 2002, the European Commission funded a two year (July 2002 –June 2004), RTD project under the GROWTH programme on ‘Fuel Cell Technologies in Ships’ (FCSHIP).  The FCSHIP project performed studies on feasibility, safety, markets and supply, social and environmental gains in a life cycle approach for using fuel cells as ship power.
The detailed objectives were:
 to define the end users' demand for the application of FC onboard ships
 to evaluate safety and operational demands for ships equipped with FCs
 to assess the potentials (economically and environmentally) for maritime use of FC
 to provide a "roadmap" for further R&D on FC application on ships
FCSHIP concluded that safe fuel cell systems for ships are possible and no major problems were detected. However, applying fuel cells on large commercial vessels is not an option in the short term due to lack of infrastructure of fuel supply and shortage of fuel cell technology itself. However, the project proved the viability of the technology in use on small ships operating in coastal areas and inland waterways. The project conducted a design concept of two case ships, which resulted in a road map for the development of FC ships in Europe. The project also identified that there was a need to involve classification societies in future programmes and to conduct more hazard analysis and risk assessment for the various ship types and fuel cell system applications and to build up reliability and availability data.

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