Will Hydrogen Become a Viable Solution for the Maritime Sector?

Responsible for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the shipping sector are prime candidates when it comes to looking into decarbonisation options. Hydrogen Industry Leaders examines how hydrogen energy could provide the solution.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) have set a target to achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2050. Utilising hydrogen would not only further progress in reaching this goal but also demonstrate the shipping sector’s commitment to sustainability.

Green hydrogen, which has been produced using renewable energy and is, therefore, responsible for zero carbon emissions, can be used as a fuel through the use of hydrogen fuel cells. These work by converting hydrogen into electricity, the only by-product of which is water and steam, meaning hydrogen fuel is a completely zero-carbon substitute for fossil fuels. This means that onboard power and propulsion could be powered without any carbon emissions.

Several shipping companies are already exploring how hydrogen can reduce their carbon emissions. The HySHIP project is supported by 14 European partners and aims to construct a ro-ro vessel that runs on green hydrogen. Operated by Norwegian shipping company Wilhelmsen, the ship is set to be operational in 2024.

Furthermore, Dutch shipping company PortLiner is already developing a fleet of battery-powered container barges to transport goods along inland waterways, however, the company is also investigating hydrogen through a proposed liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC) system as a method of energy storage. The hydrogen released from the LOHC liquid would then be converted into electricity through a fuel cell, which then powers electric motors for propulsion.

Hydrogen Industry Leaders can provide support and guidance through our multimedia platform and in-person event series, where we bring together the people working in hydrogen with the people looking to transition into the hydrogen sector for shipping.