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Hydrogen vessel project receives €8M in EU funding

Hydrogen vessel project receives €8M in EU funding
A project to design and build a roro demonstration vessel to run on liquid green hydrogen (LH2) has received €8M (US$9.46M) in funding from Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme

In addition to designing and building a hydrogen-fuelled vessel, the HySHIP project aims to establish a viable LH2 supply chain and bunkering platform.

The ship will be operated by Norway’s Wilhelmsen and will distribute LH2 to hydrogen hubs along the Norwegian coast, in the new pan-European project spearheaded by Wilhelmsen.

The vessel, currently under the concept name Topeka, will be the first of its kind to enter commercial service.

Wilhelmsen said the vessel is projected to sail on a fixed schedule carrying containerised LH2 to bunkering hubs along Norway’s west coast along with coastal customers’ cargo.

The bunkering hubs will in the future supply LH2-powered vessels including ferries and seagoing tonnage.

HySHIP aims to lower the development and operational cost of a wider move to LH2 for ship propulsion throughout Europe. Wilhelmsen vice president of special projects, Per Brinchmann said “Topeka will be our first step towards scalable LH2-fuelled maritime operations.

We shall create a full LH2 infrastructure and commercial ecosystem, while at the same time removing yearly some 25,000 trucks from the roads.” Project partner Equinor’s vice president logistics and emergency response Frida Eklöf Monstad said the presence of a hydrogen-fuelled coast-liner with a regular frequency is an alternative for Equinor’s bases on the west coast of Norway.

“This zero-emissions vessel service will also be a valuable demonstrator of the technology development supporting Equinor’s ambitions to move cargo from road to sea and to halve emissions from our maritime activities in Norway by 2030” she said.

To ensure operational durability, Topeka will be built for zero emissions through a combination of 1,000-kWh battery capacity and a 3-MW proton exchange membrane hydrogen fuel cell. Hydrogen will be sourced from the LH2 production plant planned at Mongstad outside Bergen by BKK, Equinor and Air Liquide.

HySHIP will also conduct three replicator studies, including a smaller, 1-MW tanker barge for use on inland waterways, a 3-MW fast ferry and a scaling-up study on a larger, 20-MW energy system for deepsea vessels using a capesize bulk carrier as the replicator.

In addition to Wilhelmsen and Equinor, the HySHIP consortium partners include Kongsberg Maritime, LMG Marin, Norled, PersEE, Diana Shipping, Stolt-Nielsen Inland Tanker Service BV, Air Liquide, NCE Maritime CleanTech, DNV GL, ETH Zürich, Strathclyde University and Demokritos.

The funding under the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking is subject to the signing of a grant agreement by the HySHIP partners by the end of this year. The ship is slated to be operational from 2024.

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