Kongsberg says it has carried out the world’s first testing and verification of a full-scale and full-size, zero-emissions drivetrain powered by hydrogen fuel cells designed for application on ships and ferries.
“With a verified and tested hydrogen-based propulsion system, we take the next step in zero-emission solutions at sea,” commented Geir Håøy, president at Kongsberg. “This project is another example of our world-leading Norwegian maritime cluster succeeding when we face the most demanding technological challenges.”
The latest program is considered the third and final part of HySeas, an EU-funded project that since 2013 has aimed to prepare and demonstrate a scalable hydrogen system for vessels.
For the final stage of the project, Kongsberg built a full-scale electric propulsion system that was based on hydrogen fuel cells. The system will now be tested over a four-month period to validate and verify the design for an H2 -powered ro-pax ferry. The drivetrain testing aims to demonstrate how easily H2 fuel cells can be integrated with a marine hybrid electric drive system.
“What Kongsberg and its partners have succeeded in achieving with this project is yet [more]proof of the internationally leading competence in the Norwegian maritime cluster,” said Norway’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Jan Christian Vestre. “Now we have both taken the next step for solutions in Norway, and the next step for the Norwegian maritime industry to succeed in exporting hydrogen-based technology and solutions internationally.”
During the test the system will be subjected to loads similar to those a vessel would experience on a route between Kirkwall and Shapinsay in Orkney, UK. For Kongsberg this will confirm the safe operation of the system and subsequently any power or fuel capacity requirements. Other relevant information will be sent back to Caledonian Maritime Assets, based in Scotland, which will be responsible for completing the design in March 2022. Hydrogen fuel needed for the vessel will be generated at the ferry port by wind power.
“If we are to succeed with hydrogen investment in Norway, both to reduce national emissions and create new, green and sustainable jobs, we are dependent on being able to show complete pilots on a full scale,” said Egil Haugsdal, CEO at Kongsberg Maritime. “This means that the next step will be to show the technology in operation, and then quickly put in place the surrounding infrastructure. Orkney will be the first practical usage of this technology, while the Norwegian maritime cluster has the opportunity to develop our own pilots and projects here in Norway.”
The full scale HySeas III test was launched on December 1, 2021, at Kongsberg’s facility in Ågotnes, Norway.