South Korea unveils its first commercialized hydrogen-electric vessel

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The first commercialized hydrogen-electric boat in South Korea has been unveiled at the 2021 Busan International Boat Show. Developed and built by Vinssen, the Hydrogenia features a Danfoss Editron electric drivetrain and subsystem.

The electric drivetrain consists of an EMI machine, electrical inverters and DC-DC converters. The compact, lightweight technology from Danfoss enables the vessel to benefit from extra space and further weight savings. Measuring 32.8ft long, the Hydrogenia can carry six people and has an operating time of six hours at a speed of 10kts.

Prior to its unveiling, the vessel underwent testing and demonstration at South Korea’s only facility that specializes in hydrogen piping supply, the Ulsan Hydrogen Realization Center.

Late last year, the South Korean government revealed a US$870m plan to encourage the development of eco-friendly shipping solutions as it seeks to reduce pollution caused by the country’s marine sector. The focus of the 2030 Green Ship-K Promotion Strategy is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. South Korea hopes to do this by advancing and utilizing low-carbon ship technology such as hydrogen fuel cells and propulsion systems. One of the main targets is to reduce marine greenhouse gas emissions by 40% within the next 25 years and by 70% by 2050.

“The unveiling of the Hydrogenia boat demonstrates the pivotal role we play in marine electrification, both in hydrogen- and battery-powered vessels,” commented Steve Kim, head of Northeast Asia, Danfoss. “We will continue to help South Korea achieve its goal of being carbon neutral by 2050 by contributing to the ongoing electrification of the country’s transportation industry, with a focus on its shipbuilding sector.”

Kim continued, “Our multi-function inverter modules can be easily integrated with other energy sources, such as hydrogen fuel cells, without additional costs for research and development. Our standardized inverter technology also guarantees the fastest lead time from testing to commercialization.”

Vinssen plans to construct another 50 boats using a similar hydrogen-electric drivetrain over the coming 12 months. By using Danfoss Editron’s multiple-parallel inverters in a single machine, the two companies hope the Hydrogenia can serve as a benchmark for larger marine projects, such as ferries and tugboats seeking to use sustainable powertrains.

“If the government’s institutional and policy support for the commercialization of hydrogen-electric boats continues, it will enable South Korea to lead the world in hydrogen ship technology, which will grow into a high value-added industry,” commented Chil Han Lee, CEO of Vinssen.

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After spending six years working as a mechanic for various motorsport and high-end performance car companies, Callum joined UKi Media & Events in February 2020 as an assistant editor. In this role he uses his vast practical knowledge and passion for automotive to produce informative news pieces for multiple vehicle-related sectors.

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