Mongstad Industrial Park in Norway has been selected as the location for a potential liquid hydrogen production plant serving the maritime market as part of a wider project involving Equinor, Bergenshalvøens Kommunale Kraftselskap (BKK), Air Liquide, Wilhelmsen and NorSea
Wilhelmsen’s concept common carrier Topeka is envisaged as the first user of the hydrogen that could eventually be produced at Mongstad.
Wilhelmsen senior vice president Jan Eyvin Wang said “The Topeka shortsea concept with zero-emissions 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.”
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 between onshore bases in Stavanger and Mongstad.
Wilhelmsen said it expects this use of maritime transport could lead to replacing a substantial amount of the truck transport currently plying between the bases, reducing emissions. The company plans to take an investment decision on the vessels towards the end of 2020, depending on sufficient grants from public sources and market interest.
The project also aims to set up hydrogen terminals at NorSea Group supply bases along the coast to secure hydrogen availability for other vessels.
BKK corporate director innovation and development Ingrid von Streng Velken said the development “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”.
In late 2019, a consortium led by Norwegian firms BKK, Equinor and Air Liquide of France was awarded a US$3.24M grant by the Pilot-E scheme to develop a complete liquid hydrogen supply chain in Norway for maritime applications. Wilhelmsen and NorSea are developing the flexible liquid hydrogen distribution concept, which includes ZEVs, storage and bunkering terminals at the NorSea supply bases.
The project aims to make liquid hydrogen available for commercial shipping by early 2024 and an investment decision on the plant is expected to be made at the end of 2020.
Pilot-E is a public funding scheme for Norwegian business, supported by Research Council of Norway, Innovation Norway and sustainable energy agency Enova SF. The scheme is funding other hydrogen fuel cell projects.
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