The Norway-based HySHIP project, which aims to build a demonstration Ro-Ro vessel running on liquid green hydrogen (LH2) and hydrogen bunkering infrastructure, has been granted €8 million in European Union (EU) funding.
The funding comes from the EU’s Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020 under the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH2 JU), and is subject to the signing of a grant agreement by the HySHIP partners by the end of this year.
In a statement issued today (22 October), Wilhelmsen – one of the 14 partners in the HySHIP project – said that the aim is both to construct the concept vessel, which will be called Topeka, and establish a ‘viable LH2 supply chain and bunkering platform’.
Wilhelmsen will operate the vessel and also distribute LH2 to hydrogen hubs along the Norwegian coast. The project is slated to be operational from 2024.
The Topeka will provide a ‘two-in-one solution’: it will sail on a fixed schedule carrying both coastwise customer cargo and containerised LH2 to the bunkering hubs.
According to Wilhelmsen: ‘Norway’s west coast is dotted with bases serving the offshore industries, with base-to-base transport representing a heavy-duty transport route eminently suited to LH2. HySHIP will be a large-scale validation of both the ship, its innovative power system, and the distribution network.’
The plan is that the new bunkering hubs will in the future supply LH2-powered vessels including ferries and seagoing tonnage.
Per Brinchmann, VP of special projects at Wilhelmsen, which is also coordinating the project, commented: ‘Hydrogen as a fuel enables opportunities for low, or zero-emission shipping. 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.’
Frida Eklöf Monstad, Vice President Logistics and emergency response in Equinor, added: ‘A hydrogen driven coast-liner that has a regular frequency is very promising transportation alternative for Equinor’s bases on the west coast of Norway. This zero-emission 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.’
The Topeka vessel will feature a 1,000 kWh battery capacity and a three-megawatt PEM (proton exchange membrane) hydrogen fuel cell. Hydrogen will be sourced from the new LH2 production plant planned at Mongstad outside Bergen by BKK, Equinor and Air Liquide.
HySHIP will also conduct three replicator studies, including a smaller, 1MW tanker barge for use on inland waterways, a 3MW fast ferry and a scaling-up study on a larger, 20MW energy system for deepsea vessels using a capesize bulk carrier as the replicator.
In addition to Wilhelmsen, Equinor and Air Liquide, the HySHIP consortium partners include: Kongsberg Maritime, LMG Marin, Norled, PersEE, Diana Shipping, Stolt-Nielsen Inland Tanker Service BV, NCE Maritime CleanTech, DNV GL, ETH Zürich, Strathclyde University and Demokritos.