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Passenger Ship Technology

Hydrogen set to overtake LNG as ferry fuel of choice

Tue 03 Jul 2018 by Rebecca Moore

Hydrogen set to overtake LNG as ferry fuel of choice

Following the announcement of the first hydrogen ferries to be built, use of this power will soar within passenger shipping

Hydrogen has burst into the ferry sector in the last few weeks – and I believe is set to overtake LNG.

In just the last two weeks, two announcements have been made about the first hydrogen-fuelled ferries to be built. A hydrogen fuel cell ferry is to be built in the US after Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine was awarded a US$3M grant by the California Air Resources Board. It will be built next year and operated by Red and White Fleet. Just a week earlier, it was announced that Scotland’s Ferguson Marine Engineering is to build a ropax ferry fuelled by hydrogen.

I think it is only a matter of time before hydrogen overtakes LNG as the fuel of choice in the ferry sector. After a lot of talk, hydrogen has finally arrived and is gaining momentum quickly, not just with these two ferries but other ongoing projects including a Norwegian project to build a hydrogen ferry.

LNG can meet the 2020 low sulphur fuel demands but crucially not zero-emission demands, which is the way the shipping industry is going. But hydrogen and battery propulsion can meet these demands.

A study released last week by UMAS Consultancy for NGO group Transport and Environment said that rolling out LNG infrastructure for shipping in Europe would cost US$22Bn and deliver, at best, a 6% reduction in ship greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 compared to the replaced diesel.

This backs up my belief hydrogen will overtake LNG in the ferry sector.

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