DFDS-H2 Energy study takes a deep dive into hydrogen ecosystem for RoRo

Danish ferry and logistics company DFDS and Switzerland-based hydrogen specialist H2 Energy have published a new hydrogen propulsion feasibility study covering the main aspects of a complete hydrogen ecosystem for the roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) ferry Magnolia Seaways on the Esbjerg-Immingham-Esbjerg route.

Courtesy of DFDS

As explained, renewable fuels are in many cases not just another kind of fuel, they represent a complete energy system (ecosystem). Consequently, the production, logistics, and application of renewable fuels need to be considered as a whole to assess the viability of the solution.

The duo investigated the topic together, covering aspects such as sourcing of renewable hydrogen (H2) from H2 Energy’s large scale production facility in Esbjerg, onshore supply and logistics, including bunkering, application of a hydrogen-fuelled powertrain and safety measures.

The Lloyd’s Register (LR) Maritime Decarbonisation Hub also contributed to the study with a safety risk assessment and issued an Approval in Principle (AiP) for the concept and the initial design of the hydrogen systems.

Now, the project is finalized and the study concluded that retrofitting Magnolia Seaways with a hydrogen-fuelled propulsion system is technically feasible and commercially viable under a set of basic assumptions.

In comparison with a diesel-fuelled ferry, a reduction of CO2-emissions of 40-50’000 t/a could be achieved with hydrogen, representing the operation of more than 700 heavy-duty diesel trucks, the study found.

The project, supported by the Danish Maritime Fund, provides comprehensive insights and data for further decision taking within DFDS, the company said.

DFDS: We are following several pathways to get to net zero

DFDS has recently launched its ‘Vessels of tomorrow’ program, which will see two methanol, two electric and two ammonia vessels added to the company’s fleet over the next six years. Although hydrogen is not included in the program and DFDS is not planning to use hydrogen as a fuel very soon, DFDS plans to continue contributing to the development of knowledge on hydrogen as part of the company’s ongoing analysis of possible net-zero scenarios for both vessels and road transport.

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DFDS has ambitions to reach a 45% reduction in TtW CO2 intensity from ferries and 75% reduction in WtW greenhouse gas intensity from road transport, terminals and warehousing by 2030. By 2050 the target is to achieve net zero. To reach these targets, DFDS is looking into all possible options.

“We are following several pathways to pursue our net zero targets. Hydrogen shows promise, and it is one of the fuels we are analysing as a potential fuel source in the future, both on land and at sea. We are collaborating closely with partners, suppliers and other stakeholders to address and solve known challenges associated with using zero-emission fuels. We need to build knowledge about the different options to make smart decisions, and it is important that we share this knowledge. And I want to extend my thanks to the Danish Maritime Fund for their important contribution to this project which I am sure will benefit the entire industry,” Mads Bentzen Billesø, Head of Innovation and Partnerships from DFDS, commented.

H2 Energy: Our study is a part of a larger puzzle

Building the entire hydrogen ecosystem to produce hydrogen cost-effectively and at scale is complex. Everything from energy infrastructure and policy support must be in place, according to H2 Energy.

“Hydrogen holds great potential for the decarbonisation of the logistics sector, both at sea and on land. Our new study is only one part of a larger puzzle that involves both energy providers, ports, government authorities and end users such as shipping companies and so on. This project adds further knowledge about hydrogen and its potential for decarbonisation. It is a great starting point for the further development of hydrogen ecosystems to enable large scale application of hydrogen fuel in the future,” Rolf Huber, Founder of H2 Energy, explained.

H2 Energy is involved in several projects to establish hydrogen production, including one of the world’s largest facilities in Esbjerg.

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