A group of companies has applied to the European Union for funding to develop a large hydrogen ferry. The H2 ferry with the working title Europa Seaways is to have a fuel cell system with a capacity of up to 23 MW on board.
According to the plans, the ship will have space for 1,800 passengers and 380 cars or 120 trucks and could be used on the Copenhagen – Frederikshavn – Oslo line of the Danish shipping company DFDS from 2027. Green hydrogen for the operation of the ferry is to be produced in an electrolysis plant operated via offshore wind power in the greater Copenhagen area. The project partners include DFDS, ABB, Ballard Power Systems Europe and Hexagon Purus.
“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,” says DFDS CEO Torben Carlsen. This would only be possible in partnership with the most experienced companies in this field. In the meantime, the consortium has applied for grants from the EU Innovation Fund. According to the partners, the project is of public interest. “There are no ferries of this kind in the world today and a high level of uncertainty is therefore involved in the undertaking.” However, if the project develops as planned, the ferry could be fully operational by 2027.
Maritime applications for hydrogen fuel cell technology has been getting a flurry of attention since larger ships are considered hard-to-decarbonise with purely battery-electric options. Just yesterday we reported that Toyota had launched a hydrogen business unit for Europe, which will, among other things, also be looking at maritime applications. In September this year, the EU parliament voted for the inclusion of CO2 emissions from maritime shipping in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme to decarbonise naval transport. Already well placed, around a year ago, Ballard Power Systems Europe announced the construction of a Marine Center of Excellence at its facility in Hobro, Denmark.