CMB.TECH, partners to develop Africa’s first hydrogen-powered vessel

Cleanergy Solutions Namibia, a joint venture between cleantech maritime group CMB.TECH and Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group, the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, and Namport have decided to develop a hydrogen-fueled multifunctional port utility vessel (MPHUV).


As informed, the partners will focus on the development of an MPHUV, which will be powered by dual-fuel hydrogen engines. According to CMB.TECH, the unit will be the first hydrogen-fueled vessel in Africa.

The MPHUV’s design will enable the integration of different equipment needed for a range of port operations, which is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions during operations. The ship will be operated by the Port of Walvis Bay and Namport.

“The port’s involvement will provide invaluable insights into the vessel’s specifications during development and refine the concept based on operational experience and feedback from users once it is commissioned,” the partners noted.

Plans for the development of the new vessel were unveiled during an event hosted by the companies in Walvis Bay, Namibia.

The event aimed to showcase the progress of the Cleanergy Green Hydrogen site. The site includes a hydrogen refueling station and a production plant. The facility uses only solar energy for the on-site production of green hydrogen and will be used for hydrogen-powered trucks, port equipment, railway applications and small ships.

Expected to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2024, the hydrogen refueling station marks an important first step in the commitment to promote renewable energy solutions in Namibia.

“With this Cleanergy Green Hydrogen Site, we are channeling over a century’s worth of innovation to ignite a revolution in renewable energy. This initiative is more than a project; it’s a testament to our relentless drive for excellence, our commitment to sustainability, and our unwavering belief in partnership. Harnessing the sun’s infinite energy, we are laying down the roots for a greener future, turning our bold vision into an inspiring reality,” Sven Thieme, Executive Chairman of the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group said.

“We are doing this because we believe decarbonisation and a shift to renewable energy are important trends in the global economy. We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but industries that are difficult to reduce, such as maritime industries, ports and mining, cannot switch to electricity or batteries. Instead of electrons, they need molecules. We plan to produce these molecules in Walvis Bay to power locally operated trucks, port equipment, locomotives and small ships,” Alexander Saverys, CEO of CMB.TECH stated.

The MPHUV project builds on the success of the collaboration between CMB.TECH and Port of Antwerp-Bruges, as demonstrated by the launch of the Hydrotug and the world’s first multimodal hydrogen refueling station in the port of Antwerp.

To remind, Hydrotug, the world’s first hydrogen-powered tugboat, was launched in December last year. The Port of Antwerp-Bruges ordered the tug in 2019 as part of its strategy of becoming a climate-neutral port by 2050.

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