WATCH: MF Hydra starts world’s first voyage on emission-free liquid hydrogen

MF Hydra, the world’s first liquid hydrogen-powered ferry operated by Norwegian company Norled, is breaking ground as it starts sailing on zero-emission hydrogen with a blessing from the Norwegian Maritime Authority.

MF Hydra. Courtesy of Norled

The ferry is put into operation today, 31 March, running on zero-emission hydrogen and marking a historic day, both for Norled and for Norway as a leading shipping nation, Norled’s CEO Heidi Wolden said.

Norled said it has been carrying out system tests at the quay in Hjelmelands since the turn of the year. In recent weeks, the company has been running sea trials and received the final approvals from the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA).

Courtesy of Norled

MF Hydra is now set to sail on the triangular route between Hjelmeland-Skipavik-Nesvik in Norway, the ferry’s operator informed.

“This is fantastic! There are only two parties in the world that use liquid hydrogen as fuel. These are Norled with the MF Hydra, and then the space industry using it as fuel for launches. This says something about the giant technology leap now taken for the maritime industry. After a lot of development and testing, we are now looking forward to welcoming passengers on board for a zero-emission journey between Hjelmeland and Nesvik”, said Erlend Hovland, Chief Technology Officer of Norled.

In order to reach this milestone, the Norwegian shipping company collaborated with several international partners.

Germany’s Linde Engineering supplied the hydrogen systems on board. Danish Ballard developed fuel cells that produce electricity from hydrogen. Westcon in Ølensvåg was responsible for equipping and completing the vessel together with system integrator SEAM from Karmøy. Seam also supplied the automation scope for the hydrogen system.

Corvus Energy supplied the batteries for the MF Hydra and the vessel has been approved by the Det Norske Veritas (DNV).

Speaking about the event, Director General of Shipping and Navigation Knut Arild Hareide, said: “We know that there may be challenges when it comes to putting new technology to use, and it is also good that the Norwegian Maritime Authority has been closely involved in the project from an early stage, like we were when the first battery-operated car ferry was to be put into operation. This is of course a very important project for Norled, but also for Norway as a nation. The fact that we work together, businesses and authorities, to facilitate new technology development will give Norway a competitive advantage and may provide the basis for new jobs, while also making it even more exciting to work in the maritime industry.”

Delivered in 2021, MF Hydra is 82.4 metres long with a capacity of up to 300 passengers and 80 cars. It 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.

The ferry is equipped with an 80 cbm tank for hydrogen storage and is expected to reduce its annual carbon emissions by up to 95%.