Royal IHC: Technology word of the month – Hydrogen

Hydrogen has been a rocket fuel for decades. But might this rocket science also be applicable for ships?

Royal IHC photo

It is only in the past few years that the first hydrogen-powered ships have been built, for example a water taxi, inland container vessel, crew transfer vessel, tug, inland ferry, seagoing ferry, etc.

According to Royal IHC, their number is growing, especially in near-shore areas.

Green hydrogen is part of the renewable fuel mix along with, among others, methanol, ammonia and liquefied bio/synthetic gas (LBG/LSG). It can be stored in compressed and in liquid form.

Hydrogen can be produced from green electricity, which means that the CO2 emissions from well to tank are very low.

By using fuel cells instead of combustion engines, the ship is zero emission from tank to propeller (no emission of CO2, nitrogen, SOx, PM etc.).

Royal IHC is now working on renewable fueled vessel designs – an example is the hydrogen powered hopper dredger for which an Approval in Principle is obtained.