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PowerCell Sweden selected for world’s largest marine hydrogen project

PowerCell Sweden selected for world’s largest marine hydrogen project
An artist's rendering of one of the two green hydrogen-powered Torghatten Nord ferries that will operate in Vestfjorden, Norway in 2025 (image courtesy The Norwegian Ship Design Company).

Swedish hydrogen fuel cell technology and hydrogen-electric solutions developer PowerCell Sweden AB (PowerCell) has announced that it has signed an agreement with Norwegian SEAM AS, a leading systems developer and integrator of low- and zero-emission solutions and technology for the maritime sector, for the supply of fuel cells to two hydrogen-powered ships that will operate on Norway's longest ferry connection.

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The Norwegian government has set as a requirement that the two new ferries across the Vestfjorden at Lofoten, Norway’s longest state ferry connection, must be emission-free by 2025.

The ferries must run on a minimum of 85 percent green hydrogen, and a maximum of 15 percent biofuel.

Designed by The Norwegian Ship Design Company, the new ferries will be equipped with control and propulsion technology from SEAM.

We at The Norwegian Ship Design Company are both happy and humbled to participate in the wonderful journey of realizing the hydrogen ferries, that represent ground-breaking, new zero-emission technology on a scale that no one else in the world comes close to. The concept has been developed in close collaboration with Torghatten Nord and together we are now happy to include SEAM as a system integrator with its first-class expertise in control and safety systems, and for the hydrogen-electric powertrain, said Gjermund Johannessen, CEO of The Norwegian Ship Design Company.

The Norwegian transport group Torghatten Nord will deliver the ferries, which have a capacity of 599 passengers, 120 cars, and twelve trucks each.

Through the development of the hydrogen ferries project, we have emphasized the opportunities that exist within the Norwegian maritime industry. By bringing in SEAM, it is confirmed that we in Norway have knowledgeable and innovative players in the supply chain who can contribute to a world-class climate project like this, says Torkild Torkildsen, Managing Director of Torghatten Nord.

Approval in principle

Torghatten’s hydrogen ferries received approval in principle from the class company Lloyd’s in August 2022.

Thus, everything was in place for the further development of what will become the world’s first large-scale hydrogen ferry project.

We are proud to be Torghatten’s partner in this ground-breaking project. Together, we will show that it is possible with hydrogen vessels on a large scale and that the technology and expertise to implement this can be found in Norway. This is a new and important step to ensure zero emissions in the Norwegian ferry fleet, said Gunvald Mortvedt, CEO of SEAM.

For the ferries in the Vestfjorden, SEAM will deliver their in-house developed control and safety system, as well as the entire powertrain – from the fuel cell in combination with batteries and switchboards, to an electric motor for propellers.

The fuel cells will be supplied by PowerCell Sweden, and last month SEAM and PowerCell Sweden signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) regarding the deliveries of Powercell’s hydrogen technology to the project.

This groundbreaking hydrogen project is an important step towards ensuring zero emissions in the Norwegian ferry fleet, and we are very pleased to have PowerCell onboard. Our collaboration with PowerCell is a strategically important and long-term partnership. We have great confidence in their solutions and are looking forward to working with them on both current and future projects, Gunvald Mortvedt said.

PowerCell will deliver its Marine System 200, which enables the ferries to produce approximately 13 MW of power in total.

This is a groundbreaking project for the entire marine industry that we are very happy to be part of. Norway led the development in the introduction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the marine industry and now they are taking an important step to establish green hydrogen as the energy source to decarbonize marine commercial operations. Our solutions are perfectly suited for demanding applications where operational reliability, high power density, and compact format are important parameters, said Richard Berkling, CEO of PowerCell.

Major green hydrogen offtake

With this project, Torghatten will become the first major purchaser of hydrogen in Norway, thereby contributing to the further development of the Norwegian hydrogen industry.

The ferries will be powered by green hydrogen and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 26 500 tonnes per year.

‍Torghatten Nord and PowerCell also intend to enter into a long-term service agreement.

The transition to electrification and emission-free energy is accelerating and is supported by supranational initiatives such as the EU’s Green Deal and the large-scale investments to reach the Paris Agreement. In Norway alone, there are roughly 800 ferry lines and ferries are a segment where we can expect great interest in hydrogen-electric solutions. Starting next year, the maritime sector will be included in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), which will increase the demand for net zero, hydrogen-powered solutions, said Richard Berkling.

With a value of EUR 19.2 million, this is the world’s largest hydrogen project to date in the marine industry.

Approximately EUR 5 million of the order value is expected to impact PowerCell’s revenues in 2023, with the final delivery to take place in the fourth quarter of 2024.

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