Norwegian state-owned organization Enova has awarded 219 million Norwegian kroner (=USD 25 million) to a Wilhelmsen-led project aiming to construct the world’s first zero emission hydrogen vessels.
These funds will enable Norway-based marine services provider Wilhelmsen to further develop the technology and additional infrastructure required to support the maritime industry’s ambitions towards zero emission fuels.
"With this new funding, our vision of hydrogen vessels and infrastructure supporting various industries along the coast is much closer to becoming a reality and that is enormously exciting",
...says Senior Vice President, Industrial Investments at Wilhelmsen, Jan Eyvin Wang.
More specifically, the Topeka project eyes construction of two ro-ro vessels servicing the short sea segment. Among others, the vessels will move goods between offshore supply bases along the Norwegian west coast.
In addition, the Topeka vessels will transport hydrogen to different filling stations where local ferries and other vessels as well as land transport will have hydrogen as a ready-to-use fuel. The vessels will be operational in 2024.
Under the concept name “Topeka”, the vessels will be the first of their kind to enter commercial service and will sail on a fixed schedule carrying both coastwise customer cargo and containerized liquid hydrogen (LH2) to the bunkering hubs.
"To reach our ambitions for zero emission ocean transport, new technology has to be developed. Batteries cover many needs but not all. This means the introduction and usage of zero emission energy carriers such as hydrogen is crucial",
...explained CEO for Enova, Nils Kristian Nakstad.
"Hydrogen as a fuel enables opportunities for low, or zero-emission shipping. Topeka will be our first step towards scalable LH2 fueled maritime operations. We shall create a full LH2 infrastructure and commercial ecosystem, while at the same time removing yearly some 25 000 trucks from the roads",
...added vice president of special projects, Per Brinchmann at Wilhelmsen, who is also coordinating the project.
This development comes shortly after the news that the MS Green Ammonia project received funding support by the Norwegian government of 46.3 million NOK (4.4 million EUR), to build the world's first green ammonia-fueled tanker. The project is led by Finnish technology group Wartsila and Grieg Edge, the innovation hub of Norwegian shipping group Grieg Star.