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This paper presents a study of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell modules for small ship applications. The advantages of modules architecture are related to an increased fault tolerance and high power ratings achieved through power segmentation. The main weak point of fuel cells is slow dynamics. However, the very fast power response and high specific power of a supercapacitor complement the slower power output of the PEM fuel cell to produce the compatibility and performance characteristics needed by the load. A supercapacitor offers an additional flexibility to prevent starvation phenomena, improve performance and increase lifetime. To verify the proposed principle, an emulator system is realized with a dSPACE for the PEM fuel cell.