Ballard Power Systems has signed an equipment supply agreement with Norled, to provide two of the company’s 200 kilowatt (kW) modules to power a hybrid ferry.

The Ballard modules will be designed and manufactured at the company’s new Marine Centre of Excellence at its facility in Hobro, Denmark.

The Norled vessel – which has carrying capacity for up to 299 passengers and 80 cars – is expected to be the first liquid hydrogen fuel cell-powered ferry in commercial operation globally.

“Hydrogen will be the last piece in order to get zero-emissions in the ferry sector. Hydrogen is the solution where electric operation alone is not possible,” said Norwegian Public Roads Administration Director Terje Moe Gustavsen.

“On behalf of Norled, I am both proud and humble to be a part of this pioneer project. This represents a green historical turning point for both Norled and the rest of the maritime sector,” said Ingvald Løyning, Norled’s Chairman.

“Norway’s government has demonstrated leadership by enforcing the phasing in of low and zero-emission solutions in its marine industry by 2030, including the introduction of requirements for zero-emission tourist ships and ferries in its world heritage fjords by no later than 2026,” said Jesper Themsen, President and CEO of Ballard Power Systems Europe.

“For many of the 100 high speed ferries operating on routes in Norway, however, battery powered propulsion is not practical due to the associated weight and long recharging time required. Therefore, we believe hydrogen fuel cell systems offer ferry operators a viable zero-emission propulsion pathway,” Themsen continued.

The ferry is planned to begin operation in 2021.

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