Mongstad set to be Norway’s first liquid hydrogen fuel supply port

Malcolm Latarche

Malcolm Latarche · 12 May 2020


Mongstad Industrial Park has been selected as the location for what could become Norway’s first production plant for liquid hydrogen serving the maritime market. The first users of the hydrogen are envisaged to be two common goods carrier vessels under development by Wilhelmsen group.

In 2019, a consortium led by BKK was awarded a grant by public funding scheme Pilot-E to develop a complete liquid hydrogen supply chain in Norway for maritime applications. Mongstad Industrial Park, one of the largest industrial areas in Norway, has now been chosen as the candidate production and liquefaction site.

The investment decision on the plant is expected to be made by the end of 2020. The consortium partners are in parallel developing solutions for storage and transportation to end users in the maritime sector. The project aims to make liquid hydrogen available for commercial shipping by early 2024.

Liquid hydrogen is considered to be one of the low-carbon solutions that can decarbonize heavy-duty transportation such as ships. The first user of the hydrogen produced at Mongstad is envisaged to be the concept cargo ship Topeka currently under development by Wilhelmsen.

As consortium partners, and to explore possibilities for the decarbonization of transport, Wilhelmsen and Equinor conducted a feasibility study on how vessels fuelled by liquid hydrogen could serve Equinor’s base-to-base logistics. The concept foresees two ships transporting equipment and materials mainly between onshore bases in Stavanger in Rogaland county and Mongstad.

The ships could replace a substantial number of the trucks currently driving between the bases, offering a considerable reduction in emissions and enhancing road safety. Wilhelmsen plans to take an investment decision on the vessels towards the end of 2020, depending on sufficient grants from public sources and sufficient market interest. The project also aims to set up hydrogen terminals at NorSea Group supply bases along the coast to secure hydrogen availability also for other vessels.

“Hydrogen as a fuel enables opportunities for low- or zero-emission shipping. The Topeka shortsea concept types with zero-emission voyages up to 400 nautical miles will provide useful experience for all vessel types. The hydrogen terminals will contribute to removing barriers for the oil and gas industry as well as other sectors to invest in hydrogen solutions,” said Jan Eyvin Wang, Senior Vice President in the Wilhelmsen group.

“This is a very important project at a very challenging time for the offshore and maritime industry. It can represent the beginnings of a large Norwegian hydrogen industry that will create new jobs and strengthen Norwegian maritime suppliers’ competitiveness in a global market, where decarbonisation of shipping is high on the agenda,” said Ingrid von Streng Velken, Corporate Director Innovation and Development at consortium leader BKK.

“With this project the partners are taking steps to create a hydrogen value chain. As an energy producer, Equinor’s ambition is to reduce net carbon intensity from our products all the way from initial production to final consumption, and we believe hydrogen can be part of the solution in the maritime sector,” said Sturle Bergaas, Vice President at Equinor’s Mongstad refinery.

“We are proud to be part of the world’s first large-scale, low-carbon liquid hydrogen project for maritime applications. This partnership also illustrates Air Liquide’s contribution to meet the challenge of the energy transition and clean transportation by offering an alternative energy solution, in line with the Group’s climate objectives,” said Frederic Despreaux, Vice President, Cluster Northern Europe & CIS countries at consortium partner Air Liquide.

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