Hydrogen vessel development project

Flagships Project launch event Flagships Project launch event

The European innovation project Flagships has been awarded 5 Million Euros from the EU to support deploying two commercially operated zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell vessels.

The Flagships project will contribute to the building of two new build vessels, one in Lyon, France and one in Stavanger, Norway. In Lyon, a hydrogen push-boat operated by Compagnie Fluvial de Transport (CFT) will serve as a utility vessel on one of its most demanding rivers, the Rhône. In Stavanger, hydrogen is intended to power a passenger and car ferry operated by Norled as part of the local public transport network.

The funds awarded to the Flagships project have been granted from EU’s Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020 under the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking.

Green and sustainable shipping is a prerequisite for reaching national and international emission reduction targets. With increasing pressure for shipping to reduce harmful emissions, fuel cells and hydrogen are key technologies in providing a sustainable transportation option for the international shipping industry.

“Both the EU and the shipping industry see hydrogen as a key contributor in the work to mitigate climate change. The Flagships project sets out to raise the readiness of hydrogen-powered waterborne transport to a new level globally”, said Senior Scientist and Project Manager Antti Pohjoranta from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland who will be coordinating the project.

The Norwegian innovation project will look at the possibility to replace biodiesel with hydrogen on one of the ferries to be built for the Finnøy-route north east of Stavanger. The route serves several islands with short and several stops, which makes it difficult to realize the effective shore charging required for battery-powered vessels. Norled’s intention is to apply the hydrogen technology being developed by the company in several other ongoing hydrogen-related projects, such as building the world’s first ship powered by liquid hydrogen for the Hjelmeland connection in Western Norway.

In addition to the project funding, significant additional investment to build the ships is made by the ship owners CFT and Norled as well as the consortium partners.

An important part of the project will also be the building of European support networks covering hydrogen fuel supply chains, vessel design and manufacturing competence networks as well as significantly broad-based regulatory expertise.

By Jake Frith

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