During Riviera Maritime Media’s ’Marine Fuels: Hydrogen’ webinar, sector experts explained why hydrogen is the right choice for future-proofing shipping fleets to meet IMO’s 2050 target to decrease CO2 emissions by at least 50%
During the webinar, part of Riviera’s Marine Fuels Webinar Week, speakers provided timely and practical insights on the viability of hydrogen as a marine fuel.
Experts from Hydrogen Europe, shipowner DFDS and HYEX Safety discussed in detail the costs of hydrogen production, required infrastructure, industry uptake, safety and energy density of marine fuels. They debated whether OEMs were ready to develop technology and if there was an appetite to invest in hydrogen-derived marine fuels.
Panellists included Hydrogen Europe manager for research, innovation and funding Grzegorz Pawelec, DFDS head of innovation and partnerships Jakob Steffensen and HYEX Safety founder and chief executive Olav Roald Hansen.
In his presentation, Mr Pawelec highlighted the importance of hydrogen in future marine fuels, including ammonia and methanol.
“There will be huge demand for hydrogen in shipping in the future,” he said, noting the industry needs to design and build ships powered by one of these hydrogen-based fuels in the next few years to be ready to meet IMO’s 2050 target.
“We need to double our efforts to produce hydrogen-fuelled ships,” he said.
Mr Steffensen said hydrogen producers also need to increase capacity. “Whatever fuel is chosen, we will need a lot of renewable hydrogen,” he said.
More hydrogen-producing plants will be needed, using power from renewable energy such as solar and offshore wind for water electrolysis. Denmark is planning to build a plant using 1.3 GW of power for water electrolysis to produce hydrogen-based fuels. Another is planned for northeast Kent in the UK using energy from the Kentish Flats offshore windfarm.
DFDS is part of the Danish plant proposal and has earmarked one of its existing ships to be used to test future fuels. “We are looking to turn one of our existing vessels into a fuel cell testing vessel,” said Mr Steffensen. “We want to make it easy to test fuels in a maritime concept.”
Mr Steffensen said he hopes this test will help answer some of the questions shipowners will be asking about adopting zero-emissions fuels in the future.
“We need to know can we retrofit ships or should we design new ships?” he said. “Also, should they be zero emissions from day one, or can they be upgraded in the future?”
Mr Hansen said safety aspects should be considered from the first design stage, including plans for fuel storage, handling and converting hydrogen into propulsion energy. Later stages of design and engineering need to consider safety measures to prevent leaks and mitigate explosion risk using computational fluid dynamics modelling and simulation.
Mr Hansen said the first adoption of hydrogen marine fuel is likely to be on ferries in nations where there is a strategy to reduce emissions in ports and waterways. He said work was also underway to include hydrogen fuels within the International Code of Safety for Ships Using Gases or Other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code).
When polled, a majority of webinar attendees voted for a combination of risk-based design (RBD) and prescriptive rules in the IGF Code for hydrogen, with 57% in support. Around 25% thought RBD was necessary to develop a cost-efficient and safe solution, while 7% believe RBD as a one-size-fits-all rule does not apply to hydrogen. Around 7% said uncertainty and costs with RBD were too high, and 4% thought the competency within regulators and class to evaluate prescriptive rules remained too low.
In another poll, attendees were asked for their views on what would be needed to stimulate investment in green propulsion technology. Around 37% said a price for emissions such as particulate matter, NOx and SOx, and another 25% said carbon taxes should be increased. About 17% thought authorities should establish zero-emissions zones in harbours and fjords, 16% said hydrogen should be subsidised to be competitively priced and 5% said there should be no intervention, leave it to market forces to dictate investment.
In a third poll, the audience was asked how much they agreed or disagreed with this statement: Green ammonia will become the future mainstream fuel for shipping. Around 31% agreed, 37% were unsure, 17% disagreed, 9% strongly disagreed and 6% strongly agreed.
A fourth poll involved safety of hydrogen handling and storage. Attendees were asked: Is it right for competition to exist within safety areas through the use of patents and strict NDAs? Almost 50% said no, that industry needs to co-operate on cost-efficient solutions and another 18% said no, based on the rationale that a severe accident will have negative impacts for all players. Around 19% thought it was right to compete in safety, as finding safe solutions is part of the competition and another 13% voted yes, based on the rationale that competition is important for protecting intellectual property and maximising shareholder value.
You can view the webinar, in full, in our webinar library.
And you can sign up to attend upcoming webinars on our events page
Panellists (left to right): Hydrogen Europe manager for research, innovation and funding Grzegorz Pawelec, DFDS head of innovation and partnerships Jakob Steffersen and HYEX Safety founder and chief executive Olav Roald Hansen.