The marine electrification industry is evolving at a blistering pace. Every year, new technologies and approaches are unveiled, heralding new design approaches or system solutions that make hybrid and electric propulsion more feasible, sustainable, affordable and desirable. When an industry changes so quickly, the means to recognize and champion these breakthrough achievements needs to be equally adaptable. So, for the 2023 Electric & Hybrid Marine Awards, we felt it prudent to expand and redefine the categories to better reflect the areas in which such innovation is taking place.
With newly emerging market sectors and unexpected avenues of development, we felt we needed more ways in which to recognize progress – so we’ve increased the number of categories to nine, and redefined those categories to suit the marine industry of today.
While the 2023 Electric & Hybrid Marine Awards has a host of new categories, there is one aspect we have kept exactly the same: the robust, fully impartial judging process. The jury – which consists of journalists and consultants working across the international maritime sector – are all generous enough to give up their time and expertise for free. There are no financial incentives for taking part and judges all vote independently, with no conferring or collaboration allowed. They submit their individual votes to the chairman directly, so there can be no tactical voting, and they are all recused from any categories in which they have a conflict of interest due to any current or previous employment. The scores are then tallied and totaled – there’s no complicated weighting or averages used – with the winners confirmed by simple mathematical certainty.
All this goes some way toward explaining why the Electric & Hybrid Marine Awards are so valued by the industry – they reflect only the feedback of the highly experienced and knowledgeable jury. As has always been the case, there are no commercial partners for the awards, and no sponsorship in place. Making the shortlist is an impressive achievement, but furthermore, the winners can take great pride in knowing that their triumph is a true reflection of their standing in the industry.
Environmental Achievement of the Year – Propulsion System Design
HYDRO IMPULSE – IMPELLER SYSTEM
The first of three new Environmental Achievement awards went to Hydro Impulse for the company’s new impeller system.
“Receiving this award is a great honor and additional motivation for us,” explained Hydro Impulse CEO Alois Bauer (pictured below left), who collected the trophy in Amsterdam alongside CTO Gernot Neuböck (below right). “It shows that we are on the right track and that innovative and environmentally friendly propulsion systems are more in demand than ever.
“Winning this award serves as a validation of our hard work and dedication,” Bauer continued. “It is a testament to the expertise and innovation of our team. Having the jury recognize the progress we’ve made reinforces our belief in the importance of sustainable propulsion systems and inspires us to further advance our technologies.”
To that end, Hydro Impulse’s next steps involve growing the company’s market presence and product portfolio. “Together with our first customer, E’dyn, we are jointly addressing initial inquiries from boat builders and boatyards with the Hydro Impulse for their 11kW and 25kW outboards – both for new-builds and retrofit projects,” said Bauer. “We are about to produce our first unit of the Hydro Impulse Sterndrive for 30-65kW (peak). With this, we want to raise the power transmission from the motor shaft via the propeller shaft to the water to a new level.”
- BAE Systems and Southern Wind – Nyumba
- Voith – Electric Voith Schneider Propeller
- EPropulsion – I-Series electric inboard motor
- Wärtsilä and Brittany Ferries – ESS for hybrid ferry
Environmental Achievement of the Year – Vessel Design
NORLED, BALLARD, SEAM ET AL – MF HYDRA
The award for Environmental Achievement of the Year – Vessel Design was presented to representatives of the team behind the MF Hydra, the world’s first zero-emission liquid hydrogen fuel cell electric ferry. The Norled vessel launched in March 2023 and was a hit with the jurors, many of whom were already extremely familiar with the project and its wider significance to the electrification of the marine industry.
“This vessel represents a bold step change in energy use to hydrogen,” said juror John Haynes, managing director of Next Gen Marine and Hybrid Marine Power, and founder of Shock Mitigation and RIB & High Speed Craft. “Even more significant is the use of liquid hydrogen. The work that has gone into the safety case and classification process will have been significant.”
“This vessel shows that hydrogen can be used as fuel on larger vessels,” added fellow jury member Sverre Eriksen, senior principal engineer, electrical systems, maritime at DNV. “This might be the breakthrough for the use of hydrogen as a fuel.”
Representatives of the many partners involved in the project were on stage in Amsterdam – including (pictured above, from left to right) Christina Mikkelsen, project manager, Ballard; Pål G Eide, R&D manager, SEAM; and Arnstein Andreassen, design manager, Norled – and all were keen to stress the valued input from the various parties involved in getting MF Hydra into the water.
- Alva Yachts – Ocean Eco 90 H2
- Kotug – E-Pusher
- Wärtsilä, Corvus Energy et al – MS Medstraum
- Ultimate Boats – Sustainable hull material and design
Concept Vessel Design of the Year
ULSTEIN – THOR
A new award for 2023, this category offered an opportunity to recognize some of the most forward-thinking visions for an electrified maritime sector. In a closely fought category, Ulstein’s Thor won over the judges. The replenishment, research and rescue concept design features a thorium molten salt reactor to generate vast amounts of clean electricity aboard the striking vessel, and was praised by the jury for its visionary take on near-future shipping.
“Ulstein had a multifunctional team developing the Thor,” said chief designer Øyvind Gjerde Kamsvåg, who collected the award. “We’ve used our combined skills and imagination to develop a solution which, in our opinion, is one of the few viable ideas for true zero emission in shipping. Thorium is an abundant element source with a huge potential for the maritime industry searching for clean alternative fuels. Professionally, and personally, we are very grateful for receiving this award, and it shows that our ideas are widely recognized.”
Winning this award, Kamsvåg hopes, will also help to keep an array of wider conversations going. “[It’s great to be] recognized for the work we’ve done and for the conversations we have initiated globally about using thorium molten salt reactors and solid-state batteries. This award might get more people involved in the discussions and can assist us in developing this concept further.”
- BYD Group – BYD 50
- Conoship – 3600 General Cargo Vessel
- Eco Marine Power – Aquarius Eco Handymax II concept
- Iddes Yachts – Sail 55
Environmental Achievement of the Year – Industry Contribution
SWIM CONSORTIUM – HYDROGEN WATER TAXI PROJECT
The third Environmental Achievement Award recognizes an overall contribution to the marine industry – so it’s fitting, perhaps, that the winner is a consortium of companies working together. The SWIM consortium’s hydrogen water taxi project is a collaboration between Enviu, Flying Fish and Zepp.solutions, and launched in the Port of Rotterdam in August 2022. The project has also led to the development of the first permanent hydrogen-refueling station for boats in the country.
“There’s a saying: in life you can sink, swim or be the captain. Although our consortium is called SWIM, we’re proud that, with this award, we’re recognized as captains leading the way to a sustainable maritime future,” said Maarten Fonteijn, venture builder at Enviu and project lead for SWIM (pictured above, center). “That is exactly why we started our project and it is great to see that less than a year after our launch, the momentum is building. For SWIM, this award means recognition for all the effort that we as a team have put into being a frontrunner these past years, and that the result is being recognized as having significant impact in and by the industry.”
“For us, winning this award means confirmation that our professional and robust propulsion system is recognized,” added Gijsbert van Marrewijk, co-founder of Flying Fish (above right), who joined Fonteijn on stage in Amsterdam, along with Jonas Brendelberger, co-founder of Zepp.solutions (above left). “SWIM shows that the world is ready to go full steam ahead with the implementation of zero-emission technology.”
- East By West – Ika Rere ferry
- MPA and Shell – Expansion of collaboration
on decarbonization in Singapore
- Port of Dover – Green shipping corridor
New Propulsion Technology of the Year
MOLABO – PLUG-AND-PLAY DRIVE SYSTEM
In a fiercely contested category, Molabo’s 48V plug-and-play propulsion solution topped the jury’s scores. The setup, which combines drive solution units into a plug-and-play system, uses pre-cabled connection technology and a preconditioned battery setup, reducing installation efforts by half.
“We are very proud to have won the award for New Propulsion Technology of the Year,” said Adrian Patzak, managing director of Molabo. “It is a great achievement for our team. This recognition confirms the value of our innovative 48V plug-and-play system solution, featuring the world’s most powerful 48V inboard drive. Winning this award further motivates us to continue pushing the boundaries of our high-power, low-voltage technology.”
Having the jury recognize Molabo’s achievements is a powerful motivational factor, Patzak adds, and he believes it will spur the team on to even greater achievements.
“Our next milestone is the introduction of the outboard version of our Aries i50, featuring safe-to-touch 48V technology. This exciting extension of our product range will offer boat builders and shipyards a powerful and environmentally friendly propulsion solution in the low-voltage sector. With the new 50kW outboard, we aim to further expand our presence in the marine industry and offer sustainable propulsion options for a variety of applications.”
- BlueNav – BlueSpin electric motor
- Brim Tech and Phase Motion Control – Direct drive solutions
- EVOA – E1 propulsion system
- Mercury Marine – Avator 7.5e
Vessel Charging Innovation of the Year
VARD – OCEAN CHARGER
A crucial (and sometimes overlooked) element of marine electrification is vessel charging. The expanded Electric & Hybrid Marine Awards now includes a specific category for Vessel Charging Innovation of the Year, and saw another heated contest between the shortlisted entrants. The 2023 winner was Vard’s Ocean Charger solution, which connects a service operations vessel (SOV) to the power grid of the wind farm in which it is operating, charging a larger battery package on board and extending operational range. Øystein Longva, chief technology officer at Vard Electro, received the award in Amsterdam (right), and Håvard Vollset Lien, Vard’s vice president of research and innovation, is leading the Ocean Charger project.
“We are very humble, thankful and motivated by winning this award,” said Lien. “It means a lot to everyone involved in the development of the Ocean Charger to be recognized. At the same time it is a recognition for us that the jury has seen what we have seen – that this solution is a vital and important part of sustainable, zero-emission ship operations. Enabling charging of battery-powered ships in an offshore environment not only increases range but is also the most effective use of the electric energy. For every 10kW of produced electrical power, close to 9kW will be used to run the vessel. For hydrogen-based fuels, the equivalent figure is only 2-3kW.
“We are now amid final development of the prototype, and the next major milestone is the digital simulation of the charging operation, which will be carried out in October at the DigiCat catapult center in ålesund, Norway,” Lien continued. “We very much look forward to it. It will be the final confirmation of the solution before the full-scale testing on board the Rem Power in the North Sea in March 2024.”
- Cavotec – Megawatt Charging System
- MJR Power & Automation – Platform-mounted offshore charging
- Zinus – ZPP800 fully autonomous charging connection
Ports and Harbor Innovation of the Year
SHORELINK – SELF-PROPELLED CRUISE SHORE POWER SOLUTION
ShoreLink was recognized for the design and delivery of the first self-driven cruise solution in Europe. The self-propelled system enables seamless connection of cruise ships to shore power while docked at port.
“This award is a significant achievement for our team at ShoreLink,” said Levan Chikviladze, chief sales officer for ShoreLink, who collected the trophy in Amsterdam. “I think that these kinds of things are important in two ways. First, on a macro scale, because the shore power industry is very young and it needs these kinds of perks to keep it going and keep it motivated – it’s not all numbers and sales margins. Second, for our young team, which is very hungry, very motivated, I think this will touch all of them in a very good way.
“This award holds great meaning for us as it recognizes our ability to deliver impactful solutions that address the challenges faced by ports and harbors. Having the jury believe in our cable management system technology is not only gratifying but also motivates us to continue pushing boundaries and advancing sustainable practices in the industry.”
The ShoreLink team is not resting on its laurels, however, Chikviladze insists. There is plenty more work to be done.
“The next milestone is to further enhance and optimize our self-propelled cruise shore power solution, as well as other shore power and shore charging equipment from our portfolio. We will continue collaborating with industry partners, ports and stakeholders to implement and expand the use of this technology in different settings. Our goal is to make a lasting impact in reducing emissions and advancing sustainable practices in the maritime industry.”
- Damen – HDPE (recycled) fully electric line handler 903
- GE – Shore power system at Port of Brest
- Montrose Port Authority and Plug Shore Power – Power Partnership project
Hydrogen Technology Breakthrough of the Year
GENEVOS – HPM-80
One of the reasons for overhauling the Electric & Hybrid Marine Awards categories was to better reflect the avenues of new technological development crucial to the maritime sector – and nowhere is this more pertinent than with the new Hydrogen Technology Breakthrough of the Year. This new category, specifically focused on development of hydrogen systems, was won by Genevos for its HPM-80. The Hydrogen Power Module is an 80kW plug-and-play marine fuel cell, stackable to multi-MW scale, enabling energy-intensive applications such as ferries and service vessels to reduce their emissions to zero.
“Winning this award is an excellent achievement for our team for three key reasons,” revealed Genevos sales director Philippe Davignon, who was in Amsterdam to collect the trophy. “Firstly, it recognizes the progression our product team has made in such a short space of time. Secondly, the associated media exposure reinforces our value proposition in the hydrogen-electric maritime market. And finally, it acts as a nice team reward and is proof that together we can achieve great things.”
What’s more, picking up the award looks set to be the first step in a busy year for the HPM-80. “The 80kW Hydrogen Power Module is in the type approval process, where we will see optimizations to the design and additional testing,” Davignon added. “In Q4 this year, two HPM-80s will be powering a high-performance vessel – we are all very excited to see this hit the water. New projects to come include service and passenger vessels that will be launched in 2024, about which we look forward to sharing news at next year’s Electric & Hybrid Marine Expo Europe.”
- Bramble Energy – Marine PCBFC
- Zepp.solutions – Zepp.X150 fuel cell system
- Zero Emission Industries – Sea Change
Marine Industry Supplier of the Year
With the sector packed with so many skilled and valued partners, this was never going to be an easy category to call. When the judges’ votes were tallied, Leclanché took home the award for Marine Industry Supplier of the Year, earning recognition for a wide range of contributing factors among this year’s expert jury.
“Our entire team is focused on developing the safest, most reliable and most sustainable solutions for the maritime industry,” said Guillaume Clement, Leclanché’s vice president of Global e-Marine. “This recognition serves as external validation by the industry, for which we are extremely grateful. It further energizes us to do even better going forward.”
Jurors pointed to a number of key achievements over the past year, including (among many others, it should be noted) environmental improvements to the production of high-performance lithium-ion batteries, high-energy cathode materials for marine applications, and a proprietary water-based manufacturing process that uses fewer toxic solvents.
Clement attributed some of this success to the company’s approach and ethos, what he described as being “completely vertically integrated in the development and manufacturing of our own cell and battery technology”. He added, “It also underscores the flexibility of our technology to meet the needs of a broad range of marine applications while helping the industry achieve its goals of decarbonization.”
- Rix Industries
- Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch