Norwegian company Norled has successfully launched the world’s first ferry that runs on liquid hydrogen, Hydra. She is a hybrid craft that uses both batteries and liquid hydrogen fuel cells.
She underwent sea trials for two weeks after initial testing at Hjelmeland quay earlier this year. The Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) has given final approval for the ferry to operate.
This achievement is a significant step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the maritime industry, as hydrogen fuel cells produce only clean water as a byproduct.
Hydra received clearance from the Norwegian Maritime Administration to start sailing in early April 2023. The vessel, delivered in 2021, measures 82.4m in length and can carry up to 300 passengers and 80 vehicles.
With two 200 kW fuel cells, two 440 kW generators, and two Shottel thrusters, she has a speed of nine knots.
The hydrogen systems for the ferry were provided by Linde Engineering in Germany, while the fuel cells that generate electricity from hydrogen were developed by Danish company Ballard.
The vessel was equipped and completed by Westcon in Ølensvåg, in collaboration with system integrator SEAM from Karmøy, which also supplied the automation scope for the hydrogen system. Corvus Energy supplied the batteries for the vessel.
In addition to the major technology development, a great deal of work has also been done to develop rules and regulations to enable Norwegian passenger ships to run on hydrogen.
The ferry’s operator Norled has been focusing on innovation and sustainable solutions for many years.
In 2015 the company launched the world’s first battery-operated, propeller-driven ferry, Ampere, which led to an electric ferry revolution in Norway. Today, the country has around 70 electric ferries in operation.