Norwegian Electric Systems (NES) is involved in a project to bring zero emissions in the Norwegian World Heritage Fjords and along parts of the Norwegian coastal route.
NES is looking at combining batteries and hydrogen fuel cells on Norwegian coastal vessels.
Stein Ruben Larsen, Bergen-based NES’ Senior Vice President Sales said that the company is leading integration efforts that will see the largest fuel cell ever fitted on a large vessel, being fed hydrogen from liquid storage instead of the more frequently used compressed gas.
The ship will become the most advanced clean coastal cruise ship in the world when the planned retrofit is completed in 2023. Batteries will be then used to store additional energy to make the system truly emissions free, he explained.
She is currently being designed in Norway by Havyard Design for Havila and she is under construction at the Tersan Shipyard in Turkey, with the integration competence coming from NES.
The year 2023 will be an important one for shipping as it is when the IMO will have to deliver its initial strategy for de-carbonising shipping. This vessel could be a crucial benchmark in making this achievable as the world’s first cruise ship powered by a liquid hydrogen fuel cell, the company said.
Fuel cell development for maritime use has evolved rapidly from the first low-powered versions that were fuelled mostly by LNG and seen as replacements for auxiliary-power systems a little over a decade ago, to much more powerful systems today that have the potential to be used instead of primary engines providing propulsion.
This particular vessel is the subject of the development project FreeCO2ast and once delivered, she will run along the Norwegian northern coastline, plus areas which the country has designated as sensitive and subject to tough emission rules.
Larsen said that the work is progressing to move to the second phase of the FreeCO2ast project having brought the partners together to work on design and power requirements. The project team is working with Linde, the tank supplier and the fuel cell supplier PowerCell to obtain an Approval in Principal (AiP) for the hydrogen system.
“The ability to move to a 3.2 MW fuel cell that enables the vessel to sail zero emission for long distances along the coast will be a milestone within green shipping. For tourists experiencing the Norwegian coastline it means this vessel will be able to enter the country’s unique ad beautiful World Heritage Fjords where vessels powered by any form of hydrocarbon that produces CO2, exhaust and other emissions will be banned from 2026,” he said.
NES to examine batteries in 2013 and has now expanded its business to look at fuel cell integration, as it sees many different solutions, and combination of solutions, being needed to meet the challenges being set with ships aiming to de-carbonise.
Larsen claimed; “Norwegian Electric System has become a world-leading supplier within energy design. Our knowledge about vessel operations and competence of integrating the latest available energy sources is vital to design optimal propulsion systems.”
“For some vessels batteries will be feasible,” added Vice President Technical, Torbjørn Haugland. “But for larger vessels and longer routes batteries will not have enough power or capacity. Here, we need to look at other solutions, and fuel cells are part of this solution. However, we cannot use fuel cells powered by hydrocarbons, so, with the growing acceptance and production of hydrogen, we looked at integration of a liquid hydrogen tank and the required fuel delivery system.”
Havila’s coastal route project is an opportunity for NES to demonstrate its ability to stay ahead of the technology curve and find integration solutions for the arrangements that future ship designs will be searching for.
“Being involved in this project is a great honour, a great challenge and a huge opportunity,” said Larsen. “It shows that we can take ship design and power systems to levels that many critics said were not possible just five years ago. The project aims to retrofit a hydrogen system within 2023 that will be operational with a 3.2 MW hydrogen fuel cell, and we strongly believe that by that time we will have developed and fully approved commercially hydrogen solutions for large vessels,” he concluded.