DFDS to develop pioneering hydrogen-powered ferry

DFDS to develop pioneering hydrogen-powered ferry

Knud E. Hansen


A rendering of the new ferry, which will be the first of its kind in the world

DFDS, ABB Marine & Ports, Ballard Power Systems Europe, Hexagon Purus, Lloyd’s Register, Knud E. Hansen, Ørsted and Danish Ship Finance have joined forces to develop a 100 per cent hydrogen-powered ferry.

Together, the companies have applied for support from the European Union Innovation Fund to develop the first-of-its-kind ferry, which has been given the working name Europa Seaways and is designed to accommodate 1,800 passengers and 120 lorries or 380 cars. Once operational, the ferry will operate on DFDS’s route between Oslo, Norway and Danish ports Frederikshavn and Copenhagen.

The ferry will be powered by electricity from a hydrogen fuel cell system that can produce up to 23 megawatts (MW) of power and only emits water. The hydrogen will be produced locally in Greater Copenhagen via offshore wind, and the project will investigate how to optimally integrate with the local energy system.

“The largest fuel cell systems today produce only 1-5 MW, and the development of such large-scale fuel cell installations for an electric ferry is a monumental task,” said Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS. “We can only succeed in partnerships with companies that together can muster some of the globe’s finest expertise in design, approval, building, financing and operation of innovative vessels. Together, we expect to learn how to make these fuel types and technologies commercially viable, which is key to a transition of the industry to climate neutrality, which is also the ultimate goal of DFDS’s climate plan.”

It is expected that using hydrogen fuel cells will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 64,000 tons per year, compared to conventionally powered vessels of a similar size.

“With the increasing demand for solutions that enable sustainable, responsible shipping, we are confident that fuel cells will play an important role in helping the marine industry meet carbon dioxide reduction targets,” said Jostein Bogen, global product manager of ABB Marine & Ports. “Collaborating on this project with partners across the value chain is an important step on the marine industry’s journey towards enabling zero-emission operation for ro-pax vessels.”

If the project develops as projected, the partners expect the ferry could be in full operation on the route as early as 2027.


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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
27 November 2020

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