HySeas III launched for testing of H2 fuel cell marine drivetrain

HySeas III ferry HySeas III ferry was designed in Scotland

Kongsberg has started testing and verifying a full-scale hydrogen drivetrain for ships and ferries.

Described as a ‘world first’, the project is intended to demonstrate that technology has now matured to a sufficient level where it can support hydrogen as an energy carrier.

“With a verified and tested hydrogen-based propulsion system, we take the next step in zero-emission solutions at sea. This project is another example of our world-leading Norwegian maritime cluster succeeding when we face the most demanding technological challenges,” said Geir Håøy, CEO of Kongsberg.

The development programme is the third and final part of the EU-funded ‘HySeas’ project. With a remit of preparing and demonstrating a scalable hydrogen system for ships and ferries, the project has been running since 2013. In addition to Kongsberg, participants have come from Scotland, Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden and England.

In this final part of the project Kongsberg will carry out a four-month test of a full-scale propulsion system based on hydrogen fuel cells with the aim of validating and verifying final designs of the RoPax ferry.

Further, the test is intended to demonstrate the ease with which H2 fuel cells can be integrated into a marine hybrid electric drivetrain.

The testing will mirror operational loads which would be experienced by a vessel enroute between Kirkwall and Shapinsay in Orkney, confirming such elements as power and fuel requirements, plus other data. Hydrogen fuel will be generated by wind power at the ferry terminal.

“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 says Egil Haugsdal, president of 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,” he added.

The full-scale HySeas III test was launched at the Kongsberg facility in Ågotnes, Norway on 1 December, 2021.

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