Thursday, 11 March 2021
Industrial gas company Linde and Norwegian ferry operator Norled will be collaborating in this pioneering venture to develop a green hydrogen-powered ferry service, transporting both cars and passengers.
Linde will develop the infrastructure to produce and deliver the green hydrogen at their Leuna chemical complex in Germany. The technology used to produce the hydrogen is based on Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolysers, with 24 MW capacity.
Somewhat surprisingly Linde has opted for local renewable electricity in their hydrogen production rather than cheaper Nordic Hydro.
Deliveries are slated to commence in 2022, with the green hydrogen fuel expected to lead to a 95% reduction in carbon emissions compared to similar fossil-fuel usage.
"Hydrogen is a powerful energy carrier with proven potential for reducing carbon emissions when used in mobility," said Armando Botello, president Europe North at Linde. “We are proud to be working with Norled and, together, take the lead in developing the marine sector's transition to climate-friendly fuels."
“We believe that hydrogen will play a significant role in the future of zero-emission ships," said Heidi Wolden, CEO of Norled.
There is pressure on Norway specifically to address carbon emissions in its large shipping and ferry industry. In a related development Norwegian Electric Systems, a Bergen-based firm specialising in sustainable design and control solutions for the marine industry, have signalled plans for a 3.2 MW hydrogen fuel cell to be used on a fjord cruising vessel.
Decarbonisation of the transport sector is an issue all countries around the world are trying to deal with. It is a high emitting sector, with abatement made more difficult by the fact that one of the touted solutions to carbon emissions - Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) - is best suited to stationary, intense point emissions rather than multiple, moving emitters as is the case for the transport sector.
It should be noted that the Leuna complex, based in East-Central Germany in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, already produces hydrogen via steam gasification, a process that utilizes fossil fuels as feed (methane in particular) and is not carbon neutral.
It makes sense for green hydrogen production to use the established hydrogen infrastructure, which will likely entail the mixing of both green and grey hydrogen. However, this highlights the need for traceability, and a system such as the CertiHy GO register to ensure consumers (which will be Norled in this case) that their fuel usage will be backed by the appropriate green hydrogen production.
It is also worth noting that the recent revision to the Renewables Energy Act in Germany (EEG2021) gives incentives to electricity usage for hydrogen production, with such usage receiving exemptions or discounts on the EEG surcharge to be paid. This should give hydrogen a relative advantage to others in Germany which consume high amounts of electricity. However, green hydrogen production in other nations may still be cheaper and preferable.