The designers of an innovative liquid hydrogen (LH2) bunker vessel considered powering it with fuel cells before deciding to leave propulsion arrangements to the future owner.
The design by Norwegian marine engineering company Moss Maritime, energy major Equinor, ship manager Wilhelmsen and class society DNV GL was put forward to address challenges in the handling and storage of LH2. It is claimed to be the first such vessel ever designed.
Wilhelmsen vice president special projects Per Brinchmann told Marine Propulsion that the focus on handling and storage meant that power and propulsion had not been fully considered. “Any use of hydrogen as fuel will be up to the charterer or cargo owner at time of ordering the vessel,” he said. “We considered specifying fuel cells, but agreed to let that part open for later considerations.”
The vessel maintains a degree of flexibility in power and propulsion compared to LNG bunker vessels, for example, as there is expected to be no boil-off gas to handle. The vacuum-insulated type C cargo tanks specified have a low boil-off rate and allow for pressure build-up within the expected time of operation. A higher boil-off rate means that it often makes sense to use LNG and other gas cargoes in engines or boilers.
Project partner Equinor’s vice president for low carbon solutions Steinar Eikaas said that hydrogen may represent an attractive solution for “sectors that are hard to decarbonize and currently outside the scope of renewable solutions like batteries”, including deepsea shipping.
The bunker vessel has a storage capacity of 9,000m3, with a tank design drawing on Moss Maritime’s long experience in the LNG sector. The project was sponsored by Innovation Norway.