Norled’s 2021-delivered HYDRA is now in operation on its triangular route between Hjelmeland-Spikavik-Nesvik as the world’s first zero-emission liquid hydrogen powered ferry. In addition to the technology development, a great deal of work has also been done to develop rules and regulations to enable Norwegian passenger ships to run on hydrogen.
20 years of green ferry innovation predates the current efforts. In the year 2000, the GLUTRA became the first car ferry to run off liquified natural gas (LNG). Eleven years ago, the NPRA issued a tender which resulted in the AMPERE, the world’s first electrical ferry with propeller drive. This led to an electric ferry revolution in Norway, and today, the country has around 70 electric ferries in operation.
When the work on the HYDRA started, both technology and regulations from classification societies and the Norwegian Maritime Authority were inadequate. These are now in place.
Linde Engineering in Germany has supplied the hydrogen systems on board, and the hydrogen itself will come from their new 24 MW electrolyzer at the Leuna Chemical Complex in Germany, which will use PEM technology to produce green hydrogen. Danish Ballard has developed the fuel cells that produce electricity from hydrogen. Westcon in Ølensvåg has been responsible for equipping and completing the vessel together with system integrator SEAM from Karmøy. Seam has also supplied the automation scope for the hydrogen system.
Corvus Energy has supplied the batteries and the vessel has been approved by the Det Norske Veritas (DNV).
HYDRA is built to a design from LMG Marin. It is 82.4m long and can carry up to 300 passengers and 80 cars. It will be able to reach a speed of nine knots with fuel cells of 2 x 200kW and generators of 2 x 440kW, which will power two Schottel thrusters. The ferry is equipped with an 80m3 capacity tank for the storage of hydrogen.
The fuel cell powered HYDRA is expected to reduce its annual carbon emissions by up to 95 per cent.