There are obstacles to be overcome before hydrogen can be used as a fuel but I think we are on the cusp of seeing a strong take-up of this power within the ferry and cruise sector.
A major reason for this is a Norway Government project to create a hybrid hydrogen and battery-powered ferry. This is not a vague concept three groups are bidding for the contract to develop the ferry, which will go into operation in 2021, and the winner is expected to be announced in Q3 this year.
Unless one is launched in the meantime, this will be the worlds first hydrogen ferry and is bound to have a domino effect. As naval architect firm LMG Marin, which is involved in the hydrogen bid, managing director Torbjorn Bringedal told Passenger Ship Technology You need one project and then other projects will follow in Norway and out of Norway a bit like with LNG. He pointed out that LNG use was developed in Norway in state-subsidised ferry projects and then realised over the world.
And there are other drivers to the quick adoption of hydrogen. The Norwegian Parliament has adopted a resolution to halt emissions from cruise ships and ferries in the Norwegian world heritage fjords as soon as technically possible and no later than 2026. This will bring focus to using electric power, such as batteries and hydrogen.
I think we will also see hydrogen used in high-speed ferries sooner rather than later as there is a study in Norway looking at using fossil-free high-speed solutions which could involve batteries, hydrogen or a combination of both.
Mr Bringedal said I believe that hydrogen might have even bigger potential in high-speed ferries as the energy density is so high. In contrast, if only batteries are used, a reduction in speed or longer time in harbour might have to be accepted. This will make hydrogen more attractive to high-speed ferry operators.