A group of companies is to undertake a project to develop a 100% hydrogen-powered ferry for shipping line DFDS’s Oslo-Frederikshavn-Copenhagen route, which is to utilize a 23MW fuel cell system. The ferry, which has the working name Europa Seaways, is designed for 1,800 passengers and has capacity for 120 lorries or 380 cars.
“The largest fuel cell systems today produce only 1-5MW, and the development of such large-scale fuel cell installations for an electric ferry is a monumental task. We can only succeed in partnerships with companies that together can muster some of the globe’s finest expertise in design, approval, building, financing and operation of innovative vessels,” explained Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS.
The partnership includes DFDS, ABB, Ballard Power Systems Europe, Hexagon Purus, Lloyd’s Register, Knud E Hansen, Ørsted and Danish Ship Finance. “Together, we expect to learn how to make these fuel types and technologies commercially viable, which is key to a transition of the industry to climate neutrality, which is also the ultimate goal of DFDS’s climate plan,” added Torben.
The partnership has applied for support from the EU Innovation Fund. Given the significant technical challenge of producing a fuel cell vessel of such high output, the group notes that development of the ferry will also require public involvement.
However, if the project develops as planned, the group feels it could be in full operation on the route as early as 2027. The hydrogen will be produced locally in Greater Copenhagen using electricity generated by offshore wind, and the project will investigate how to optimally integrate with the local energy system.