Through its subsidiary Gotland Tech Development, Baltic ferry operator Rederi AB Gotland is participating in a research project to develop and secure sustainable solutions for hydrogen-powered ropaxes.
Research is being led by a team at Uppsala University (Campus Gotland).
The aim is to present a fossil-free solution for ship propulsion and to develop a reliable hydrogen supply chain for Gotland traffic.
Destination Gotland’s future ropax vessel design, ‘Gotland Horizon’, will be used as a base for the work.
The project participants aim to present a complete, sustainable and reliable fossil-free hydrogen system to be operational by 2030 and as a result, will study the entire supply chain from electricity generation to propeller.
“Working together with both research and industry creates new opportunities to be able to use hydrogen as a ship fuel. An important piece of the puzzle for our concept vessel ‘Gotland Horizon’ is the availability of fossil-free hydrogen on Gotland and in our local area,” explained Håkan Johansson, Rederi AB Gotland CEO.
Hydrogen is one of the fuels of the future and a key component in the transition to a climate-neutral society for many industries, including shipping, the company said.
In order to enable a transition to hydrogen-based fuels, reliable production and distribution of the fuel is required. The joint project will develop and evaluate system solutions for using hydrogen produced with fossil-free electricity via electrolysis as fuel in a large-scale system for Gotland ferry traffic.
“It is fantastic to have the opportunity to contribute in this concrete way to the transition to sustainable shipping. Through our co-operation with our industrial partners, we add great industry expertise and get good opportunities to see our results realised in the near future,” added Björn Samuelsson, project manager and researcher in quality technology at Uppsala University, Campus Gotland.
An important part of the research work is the production of fossil-free hydrogen. In large-scale hydrogen production, oxygen becomes a by-product. The project will be co-ordinated with OX2 and IVL’s ongoing project on Gotland to investigate the possibility of also using this oxygen to oxygenate the seabed in Burgsviken on Gotland.
“Cost-effective and fossil-free production of fuel forms the basis for sustainable and competitive maritime transport. Being able to participate in and contribute to the next chapter in Swedish shipping being written through this research project feels rewarding and shows that work to achieve national goals and development of regional business and goes hand in hand,” said Henrik Sjöström, OX2 Development Manager.
Within its maritime programme, the Swedish Energy Agency has rubber stamped a two-year grant of just over SEK3 mill to the project.
A complete, sustainable and reliable fuel system that will be implemented by 2030 to be used by the next generation of Gotland ferries is the goal, Gotland said.
The collaboration project involves Uppsala University, Rederi AB Gotland/Gotland Tech Development, OX2, Linde Gas, Uniper and Bassoe Technology.
Research is being led by Samuelsson and Stefan Ivanell, Professor of wind energy research (assistant project manager), both at Uppsala University.