Consortium releases handbook for safe operation of hydrogen-fueled vessels

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A consortium of 26 companies and associations, led by certification body DNV, has launched the Handbook for Hydrogen-Fuelled Vessels to address the uncertainties surrounding hydrogen as a ship fuel. The companies are all part of the MarHySafe joint-development project (JDP), which aims to create a knowledge base for safe hydrogen operations in shipping.

The handbook is intended to offer a roadmap toward safe hydrogen operations using proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC). It details how to navigate the complex requirements for design and construction, and covers the most important aspects of hydrogen operations, such as safety and risk mitigation, engineering details for hydrogen systems and implementation phases for maritime applications.

“Green hydrogen is one of the zero-carbon fuels that could be vital to meeting the IMO GHG goals, but as with other new fuels, there are still significant challenges regarding its safe and widespread implementation,” said Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO of DNV Maritime. “We are fortunate to be working with companies that are really ahead of the curve in terms of hydrogen operations. Having such esteemed partners and observers on board this project makes the insights gleaned all the more valuable. Furthermore, it shows how the shipping industry can pool its collective expertise to tackle these crucial issues. We work best when we work together – the handbook is testament to this.”

Some of the main challenges for hydrogen operations in shipping include the current regulatory framework, which is open to interpretation by different stakeholders, existing knowledge gaps on the safe handling, storing and bunkering of hydrogen, as well as the unique properties of hydrogen that make it challenging to work with.

“This handbook provides a comprehensive overview of what companies need to consider with a hydrogen-fueled vessel, as well as areas that require further investigation and testing before this technology can be taken up on a larger scale,” added Nathaniel Frithiof, senior consultant, environment advisory at DNV Maritime and project manager for Phase II of MarHySafe. “But as MarHySafe progresses, we are working to ensure that the handbook is much more than a static document, rather a knowledge hub that will be continually updated and will provide a basis for the future development of hydrogen rules.”

The MarHySafe JDP will soon enter its second phase, which will include pre-calculated risk assessments, experimental testing and more work on hydrogen bunkering and input toward standardization. Alongside this, the Handbook for Hydrogen-Fuelled Vessels will be updated continually as the project progresses, to reflect the current level of expertise in the industry.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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