Danish ferry operator DFDS and its partners have applied for EU support for development of a ferry powered by electricity from a 23MW hydrogen fuel cell.
Partners in the project include ABB Marine & Ports, Ballard Power Systems, LR, Hexagon Purus and Knud E Hansen.
“The largest fuel cell systems today produce only 1-5 MW, and the development of such large-scale fuel cell installations for an electric ferry is a monumental task. We can only succeed in partnerships with companies that together can muster some of the globe’s finest expertise in design, approval, building, financing and operation of innovative vessels,” said Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS. “Together, we expect to learn how to make these fuel types and technologies commercially viable, which is key to a transition of the industry to climate neutrality, which is also the ultimate goal of DFDS’ climate plan”.
The partnership has applied for support from the EU Innovation Fund. As there are no ferries of this kind in the world today, the development of the ferry will also require public involvement. However, if the project develops as projected, the ferry could be in full operation on the route as early as 2027.
The hydrogen will be produced locally in Greater Copenhagen based on offshore wind, and the project will investigate how to optimally integrate with the local energy system.
The ferry that has the working name Europa Seaways, is designed for 1,800 passengers and has capacity for 120 lorries or 380 cars.
“With the increasing demand for solutions that enable sustainable, responsible shipping, we are confident that fuel cells will play an important role in helping the marine industry meet CO2 reduction targets. Collaborating on this project with partners across the value chain is an important step on the marine industry’s journey towards enabling zero-emission operation for RoPax vessels,” said Jostein Bogen, Global Product Manager, ABB Marine & Ports.
“Fuel cells in combination with hydrogen will play a key role in helping the marine industry address GHG emissions. With the “Hydrogen EU-ROPAX” project and the strong partnership behind it, we will not only meet the demand for zero-emission marine solutions we will also contribute to creating green jobs and growth in Denmark and ensure a Danish leadership role within the marine segment,” said Jesper Themsen, President & Chief Executive Officer, Ballard Power Systems Europe A/S
Finn Wollesen Petersen, Managing Director, Knud E. Hansen added, “Due to the ongoing global fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions it is more important than ever for designers to collaborate with ship owners, regulators and equipment makers to innovate and rethink how we design ships. This project is a great example of how much we can push traditional thinking. By combining new ideas and close collaboration we can show how the future in ship design could potentially look.”
“In order for the industry to reach the IMO 2050 ambitions it shall need to transition to zero carbon fuels, this is a complicated pathway not just in terms of technology, but also infrastructure. The partners in the DFDS project are industry leaders within their respective fields, from zero carbon energy company through fuel storage and fuel cell providers. This collaboration supported by experts from the Maritime Decarbonisation Hub will help solve a number of unanswered questions. LR will help ensure a thorough and impartial de-risking of this hydrogen fuelled Ro-Pax ship design, including safety assessment of the complete supply chain,” commented Charles Haskell, Decarbonisation Progamme Manager at LR.