The revolutionary HyShip project embraces 14 European partners collaborating on the design and construction of a new ro-ro demonstration vessel running on liquid green hydrogen (LH2), as well as the establishment of a viable LH2 supply chain and bunkering platform. The ship will be operated by Norwegian maritime industry group Wilhelmsen and will distribute LH2 to hydrogen hubs along the Norwegian coast. It is slated to be operational from 2024.
The project aims to lower the development and operational cost of a wider move to LH2 for ship propulsion throughout Europe. The EUR 8m funding from the EU’s Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020 under the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH2 JU) is subject to the signing of a grant agreement by the HyShip partners by the end of this year.
Going under the concept name “Topeka”, the vessel will be the first of its kind to enter commercial service. Providing a two-in-one solution, it will sail on a fixed schedule carrying both coastwise customer cargo and containerized LH2 to the bunkering hubs. Norway’s west coast is dotted with bases serving the offshore industries, with base-to-base transport representing a heavy-duty transport route eminently suited to LH2. HyShip will be a large-scale validation of both the ship, its innovative power system, and the distribution network. The bunkering hubs will in the future supply LH2-powered vessels including ferries and seagoing tonnage.
The Topeka vessel will be built for zero emission through a combination of 1,000 kWh battery capacity and a three-megawatt PEM (proton exchange membrane) hydrogen fuel cell. Hydrogen will be sourced from the new LH2 production plant planned at Mongstad outside Bergen by BKK, Equinor and Air Liquide.
HyShip will also conduct three replicator studies, including a smaller, 1MW tanker barge for use on inland waterways, a 3MW fast ferry and a scaling-up study on a larger, 20MW energy system for deepsea vessels using a capesize bulk carrier as the replicator.