Halten Bulk wins Enova funding for hydrogen-powered bulker duo

Norway-based company Halten Bulk AS has received NOK 142 million ($13.8 million) for the construction of two hydrogen-powered ships from Enova, a state enterprise owned by the Ministry of Climate and Environment that promotes renewable energy use.

Halten Bulk
Courtesy of: Halten Bulk

The support from Enova goes to a number of technical measures on board the vessels, including:

  • Hydrogen combustion engine, design adaptations and storage solution for hydrogen containers on board
  • Battery with necessary battery compartment and power electronics
  • Electric excavator with equipment for handling hydrogen containers
  • 2 braided rotors (rotor sail)
  • OCR plant that produces electricity from the excess heat on board.

The ships will form part of a fleet that has operations beyond the Norwegian coast, and is therefore dependent on using marine gas oil until hydrogen becomes commercially available in several places in Europe. Halten Bulk plans to start with a hydrogen combustion engine and install fuel cells in addition later.

“We start with a combination of 70% hydrogen and 30% marine gas oil. The more available bunkering stations that come, the greater proportion of hydrogen we will use. Then hydrogen will also become more competitive on price,” said Ivar Christian Ulvan, manager of Halten Bulk AS.

“Enova supports those who go ahead. Halten Bulk’s hydrogen ships will contribute to developing the technology needed for hydrogen to become an effective alternative,” added Nils Kristian Nakstad, CEO of Enova.

Halten Bulk was established in 2004 in Trondheim and operates seven short-sea bulk vessels. The company is owned by Brødrene Nordbø AS, Ulvan and Strand Shipping AS.

Egil Ulvan Rederi AS, which earlier this year launched the world’s first zero-emission cargo ship With Orca, has joint management with the bulk vessels in Halten Bulk AS. The “sister effect” between the companies means that expertise and experience can be shared in the various companies.

“We will use the same design company as on With Orca, namely Norwegian Ship Design. They will use experiences from With Orca as well as their knowledge of hull design and new technology to optimize the new vessels. This sister effect reduces costs by around 10 per cent,” said Ulvan.

“The vessels will be among the first of their kind to demonstrate hydrogen solutions. The vessels will be central to demonstrating the solutions and lowering the risk for those who come after. The technologies for energy efficiency are also innovative, and the use of wind is important for reducing the need for added energy and increasing the competitiveness of emission-free energy carriers,” stated Nils Kristian Nakstad in Enova.

“These are solutions that enable emission-free sea transport, and which are therefore important on the road to a low-emission society,” Kristian added.

Striving to maintain its position as one of the leading sustainable shipping nations, Norway is investing heavily in hydrogen projects within the maritime sector.

In late June 2022, Enova supported the creation of five renewable hydrogen production plants along the Norwegian coast with NOK 669 million (about $65.5 million).

What is more, Enova granted NOK 451.3 million ($44.1 million) for seven pioneering hydrogen- and ammonia-powered vessels.

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“The government has an ambitious goal to reduce emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030. Therefore, it is very gratifying that Halten Bulk will now start building two hydrogen ships. We are dependent on someone taking the lead so that the low- and zero-emission solutions at sea become available to more people,” climate and environment minister Espen Barth Eide concluded.