A network of windfarms could create hydrogen or ammonia fuel to power shortsea shipping according to a new consortium of shipowners and technology companies.
The Zero Emission Energy Distribution at Sea (ZEEDS) consortium – comprising Wärtsilä, Norwegian energy company Equinor, engineering groups Kværner and Aker Solutions and shipowners Greig Star and DFDS – envisions a chain of windfarms creating renewable electricity and then storing that as either hydrogen or ammonia. An automated bunker vessel is proposed to transfer the fuel.
The group, which began discussing potential solutions in January, believe that the storage challenges around these fuels – namely the large volumes required to be stored on board – can be overcome by deploying a series of offshore windfarms at short intervals. Grieg Star and DFDS analysed their north European operations to identify potential sites, suggesting five locations. All are within the North Sea and Baltic Sea emissions control area, with distances short enough to allow for only small tanks and fuel systems on board.
Concepts proposed for the offshore bunkering station include one comprising 75 wind turbines producing 2,500 tonnes of ammonia a day, enough for 65 shortsea vessels. Another concept allows the production of both hydrogen and ammonia at the same site.
Wärtsilä marine division sales director for the Nordic and Baltic area Cato Espero told Marine Propulsion that all the technology for the windfarm bunkering concept has already been deployed but may not have been used together before. The consortium will be inviting other companies to join them to work towards bringing the concept to fruition at an event before Nor-Shipping next week.
“In order to develop a sustainable solution to this challenge we have to work together,” Mr Espero said. “We need the support from authorities and are calling for them to implement incentives that will enable us to find the fastest route to zero emission shipping.”