ABS inks deal with Korea for hydrogen-powered passenger vessel

Classification society ABS has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Korea Hydrogen Industry Association (KHIA) and the University of Ulsan, Foundation for Industry Cooperation (UOUFIC) to develop a zero-emission hydrogen-powered passenger vessel.

Equipped with an electric propulsion using a 350kW (kilowatt) hydrogen fuel cell, the compact 40-seat vessel will be used to support the tourism industry.

The vessel also qualifies as one of the research, development and demonstration (RD&D) projects associated with Korea’s national hydrogen strategy.

Commenting on the project, Vassilios Kroustallis, Senior Vice President, Global Business Development at ABS, said, “We look forward to supporting this hydrogen vessel project with our deep technical knowledge and regulatory expertise to enhance the safety of the maritime industry and bring about a smooth transition to clean energy.”

According to South Korea’s Moon Jae-in government, the country aims to expand its annual hydrogen market from 130,000 tonnes to 5.26m tonnes per year.

For the transportation sector, South Korea’s New Deal (announced in 2020) sets the 2040 fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) target to nearly 3m, including 2.9m domestically manufactured FCEVs, 30,000 fuel cell trucks and 40,000 fuel cell buses.

In the same year, the country led the world in FCEV installation, with over 10,000 FCEVs on the road.

Having adopted the Hydrogen Economy Roadmap in 2019, South Korea passed the Hydrogen Economy Promotion and Hydrogen Safety Management Law (Hydrogen Law) in January 2020 to lay the legal foundations for the government’s promotion of hydrogen and advance the implementation of safety standards for facilities.

Earlier this year, South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries announced that it has established ‘tentative standards’ for ship hydrogen fuel cell equipment to enable actual hydrogen shipbuilding in the country.

Considered to be the centre of South Korea’s hydrogen fuel-cell vessel industry, Ulsan was selected as a demonstration zone for hydrogen ships in 2019 to have related regulations exempted for a short time to check the efficacy of equipment and technology.

In 2021, a demonstration project was launched to build a universal platform for hydrogen and electric-powered ships by 2025.

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