Photo: Courtesy of Norled

Ballard installs fuel cells onboard world’s 1st hydrogen-powered ferry

Canadian fuel cell supplier Ballard Power Systems has installed two 200 kilowatt (kW) fuel cell modules onboard the Hydra ferry, operated by Norwegian company Norled.

The installation of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells comes ahead of the vessel’s first sea trial scheduled for December this year.

“The FCwave™ module is a true plug-and-play solution, providing an optimal zero-emission replacement for conventional combustion engines onboard ships,” commented Thomas Therkild Petersen, Marine Product Line Manager at Ballard Power Systems.

“It is a high-power, adaptable engine in a hybrid electric system that incorporates fuel cells working together with batteries to provide efficient, zero-emission power. With this real-world example, we can help to ‘demystify’ how we reduce the complexity of fuel cell technology integration – which may still be quite new to some ship operators. In a nutshell, this is really zero-emission made easy.”

The vessel, set to become the world’s 1st ferry to run on hydrogen, was delivered last year. It was designed by Norwegian ship design and engineering company LMG Marin and constructed at Westcon shipyard.

The ferry is 82.4 meters long with a capacity of up to 300 passengers and 80 cars.

The DNV-classed vessel will be able to reach a speed of 9 knots with fuel cells of 2×200 kW and generators and 2×440 kW which will power Shottel thrusters, according to Norled. The ferry is equipped with an 80 cbm tank for hydrogen storage.

Norled has already selected industrial gas and energy company Linde to supply the vessel with liquid hydrogen. Liquid hydrogen will be supplied from Linde’s new 24MW electrolyzer at the Leuna Chemical Complex in Germany, which will use PEM technology to produce green hydrogen.

The fuel cell-powered ferry is expected to reduce its annual carbon emissions by up to 95 percent, according to Norled.

It is designated to sail on the triangular route between Hjelmeland-Skipavik-Nesvik in Norway.