The Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) is involved in the innovation project HYBRIDShips in Trondheim, to develop the world first hydrogen (H2)-powered ferry.

The idea behind HYBRIDShips, which stands for H2 and battery technology for innovative powertrains in ships, is to establish the necessary knowledge base for realising zero-emission propulsion systems for longer crossings and larger vessels based on battery and H2 technology.

Fiskerstrand Holding AS is the driving force behind the project, which in December was granted support through PILOT-E, a financing tool from the Research Council of Norway, Innovation Norway and Enova.

The goal of this pilot project is a hybrid-powered ferry, which will be in operation within 2020, says Group CEO of Fiskerstrand, Rolf Fiskerstrand. The main propulsion of the ferry will be based on H2 and fuel cells. To ensure energy-efficient operation, batteries will also be used.

The NMA has observed an increasing interest in using H2 as marine fuel and wants to work closely with the industry in the development of the new technology. By addressing a specific ship design, the project will also bring forward the NMA’s approval process for the use of H2 as fuel in maritime transport. The same applies to DNV GL class rules.

The HYBRIDShips project was formally launched with a kick-off on the 9th January. The first phase will be used to identify technical and regulatory requirements that must be met, to examine and test the fuel cells used under marine conditions, and to develop solutions and procedures for filling and operating with H2.