Ferry of the future: Partnership aims to develop ferry powered by green hydrogen


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Digital agency in Aarhus, Denmark

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By Makeable, December 01, 2020

In collaboration with the companies Ørsted, ABB and Ballard Power Systems, the ferry operator DFDS have applied for EU support for development of a ferry powered by electricity from a hydrogen fuel cell, which only emits water.

Electric battery-powered ferries are not an uncommon sight in the seas surrounding Denmark, and in 2027 – if all goes as planned – a new green ferry powered by 100 per cent hydrogen will be sailing passengers between Denmark and Norway. The ferry will be able to carry 1800 passengers and has capacity for 120 lorries or 380 cars.

Related news: Small Danish island now has its own fully electric, zero-emissions vehicle and passenger ferry

New technologies could be key to a transition

The ferry will be powered by electricity from a hydrogen fuel cell system that emits only water and can produce up to 23 MW to propel the ferry, which is considerably more than what is produced today.

“The largest fuel cell systems today produce only 1-5 MW, and the development of such large-scale fuel cell installations for an electric ferry is a monumental task. We can only succeed in partnerships with companies that together can muster some of the globe’s finest expertise in design, approval, building, financing and operation of innovative vessels,” said Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS.

DFDS are collaborating with ABB, Ballard Power Systems Europe, Hexagon Purus, Lloyd’s Register, KNUD E. HANSEN, Ørsted and Danish Ship Finance to realise the project.

“Together, we expect to learn how to make these fuel types and technologies commercially viable, which is key to a transition of the industry to climate neutrality, which is also the ultimate goal of DFDS’ climate plan,” said Torben Carlsen.

-Related news: Large-scale Power-to-X project in Copenhagen ready for the first phase with an expanded circle of partners

Powered by offshore wind

Today, maritime transport alone is responsible for about 2.5 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, and these emissions are projected to increase significantly if mitigation measures are not put in place (Source: European Commission).

The green hydrogen used for the ferry will be produce locally in Greater Copenhagen by a projected offshore wind energy-powered electrolyser plant, and will contribute to large CO2 savings once it has left the harbour.

-Related news: Leading Danish companies join forces in ambitious sustainable fuel project

Source: DFDS

Image: DFDS

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