A consortium of 14 European partners will work on the design and construction of a ro-ro demonstration vessel that will run on liquid green hydrogen (LH2) as well as on the establishment of an LH2 supply chain and bunkering platform.
The funds come from the EU's Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020 under the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH2 JU), but receiving the support is subject to the signing of a grant agreement by the HySHIP partners by end-year.
Topeka will feature a 1,000 kWh battery pack and a 3.0 MW proton-exchange membrane hydrogen fuel cell. She's slated to become operational from 2024, serving Norwegian coastal traffic, commercial as well as containerized LH2, in Wilhelmsen's colours (at the same time the project's leader).
Hydrogen will be sourced from a new LH2 production plant, to be erected by BKK, Equinor, and Air Liquide at the Mongstad industrial site outside Bergen.
In addition, HySHIP will conduct three replicator studies: a smaller, 1 MW inland waterways tanker barge, a 3 MW fast ferry, and a scaling-up study on a larger, 20 MW energy system for deep-sea vessels (using a capesize bulk carrier as the replicator).
"Hydrogen as a fuel enables opportunities for low, or zero-emission shipping. Topeka will be our first step towards scalable LH2 fuelled 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," Per Brinchmann, VP Special Projects, Wilhelmsen, and the project's coordinator, said.
Frida Eklöf Monstad, VP Logistics and Emergency Response, Equinor (one of HySHIP's partners), also commented, "A hydrogen driven coast-liner that has a regular frequency is a very promising transportation alternative for Equinor's bases on the west coast of Norway. This zero-emission vessel service will also be a valuable demonstrator of the technology development supporting Equinor's ambitions to move cargo from road to sea and to halve emissions from our maritime activities in Norway by 2030."
Bart Biebuyck, Executive Director, FCH2 JU, summed up, "Maritime is a large contributor of global GHG emissions and thus a priority sector to decarbonize. Hydrogen and fuel cells have the potential to propel vessels in a zero-emission fashion, and various ship types are starting to integrate them. HySHIP will be a worldwide forerunner innovation project due to its use of liquid hydrogen, the size of the fuel cell and the concept for the LH2 distribution."
Apart from the aforementioned companies, the project consortium also comprises Kongsberg Maritime, LMG Marin, Norled, PersEE, Diana Shipping, Stolt-Nielsen Inland Tanker Service, NCE Maritime CleanTech, DNV GL, ETH Zürich, Strathclyde University, and Demokritos.