Photo: Norled

Ballard fuel cells for world’s largest LH2-powered ferry

Canadian fuel cell supplier Ballard Power Systems has delivered two, 200 kilowatt (kW) fuel cell modules to Norwegian ferry operator Norled.

Courtesy of Norled

As informed, the fuel cell modules will power the world’s first liquid hydrogen-powered ferry, the MF Hydra, later this year.

MF Hydra will be the first hydrogen-powered ship to be approved by the Norwegian Maritime Directorate, the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning (DSB) and DNV.

In July 2021, the newbuild was delivered to Norled by Westcon shipyard.

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The vessel has a capacity of up to 300 passengers and 80 cars and will sail on the triangular route between Hjelmeland-Skipavik-Nesvik in Norway.

“This is a pioneering project. It represents a significant turning point for both Norled A/S and the rest of the maritime sector. We believe that hydrogen will play a significant role in the future of zero-emission ships,” Erlend Hovland, Chief Technology Officer at Norled A/S, commented.

“The delivery of the fuel cell modules from Ballard enables us to continue our work to deliver and operate the world’s first ferry to be fueled by liquid hydrogen.”

The FCwave modules for Norled A/S have been designed, manufactured, and tested at Ballard’s Marine Center of Excellence in Hobro, Denmark. The two FCwave marine fuel cell modules have been approved by DNV, one of the world’s leading classification and certification bodies.

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“The handover of the FCwaveTM modules to Norled A/S marks an important milestone for Ballard and demonstrates that hydrogen fuel cells are out of the starting blocks and on the way to lead in zero-emission technologies for the marine industry,” Søren Østergaard Hansen, General Manager, Marine and Stationary, Ballard Power Systems Europe A/S, said.

“Through the experience gained in projects with Norled A/S and other marine partners, we have taken a big step towards the goal of receiving the official Type Approval from DNV, which will certify that the FCwaveTM has met the functional, design, documentation and safety requirements necessary for global marine commercialization.”

The Norwegian government has introduced its action plan for green shipping with an ambitious goal to reduce emissions from domestic shipping and fishing vessels by 50 percent by 2030.

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This also included the introduction of requirements for zero-emission cruise ships and ferries in its World Heritage Fjords no later than 2026. This will make the fjords the world’s first zero-emission zone at sea.

Hydrogen fuel cell systems are believed to be a viable zero-emission pathway for ferry operators.