Ferry operator Norled aims to kickstart hydrogen power among ship operators with its newbuilds
Norwegian ferry operator Norled is leading the way in developing hydrogen power by constructing two hybrid ferries – one to be powered by liquid hydrogen and one to be propelled by compressed hydrogen. These will be the first ferries powered by hydrogen in Norway.
The first ferry project saw Norled win a tender for a ferry with capacity for 80 cars, 10 trucks and 299 passengers, which will sail east of Stavanger in Norway. A maximum of three tonnes of liquid hydrogen and 400 kilowatts [worth] of fuel cells will be stored in systems on the top deck. “We have done a lot of risk assessment with Norwegian Maritime Administration,” said Norled project manager Ivan Ostvik.
The second ferry, which is being developed as part of the Flagships project, is likely to run on compressed hydrogen for commercial reasons. Mr Ostvik said “We need to develop the value hydrogen chain in Norway, it is non-existent today, the liquid supply is from Europe… what we see in the value chain is that more and more ships are asking for hydrogen… Next will be cruise… but how shall we do this?”
Norled is working with partners to develop the supply chains and infrastructure needed, with two projects. An initiative working on ‘blue hydrogen’, based on natural gas, steam forming and carbon capture to create hydrogen; and ‘green hydrogen’, using electrolysis to create a hydrogen supply value chain.
Mr Ostvik told Passenger Ship Technology “The Blue project is just a concept still, while the green hydrogen is on offer now.” He said the benefits of using the blue initiative are that natural gas is cheaper. He said “I think that if it can handle the CO2 capture, this should be looked into.”
Commenting on using liquid hydrogen for the first ferry and compressed hydrogen for the second, he said the first was because “tender requirements pushed us to the liquid solution – this had a much better score on tender requirements”. But the challenge is that liquid hydrogen is “hardly available”.
Mr Ostvik said the benefit of using compressed gas is that it “carries four times more than liquid but in the same space and compressed is cheaper than liquid in Norway at the moment”.
He highlighted how hydrogen complemented batteries as the density of the latter is not enough to power car ferries and fast ferries on its own. Both ferry newbuilds will be a hybrid mix of batteries and hydrogen. The first project – the one using liquid hydrogen – will be split 50/50 between batteries and fuel cells.
Norled is aiming to kickstart hydrogen use in the ferry and wider shipping sector. Mr Ostvik said “We are using these first projects to get the energy companies interested and present a future market for them… so that they invest in hydrogen and its production in Norway.”