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Hydrogen-powered catamaran christened in Belgium

Wednesday, 06 Dec 2017

The world’s first accredited passenger vessel powered by hydrogen in a diesel engine, Hydroville, has been christened in Antwerp.

Catamaran Hydroville, a pilot project to test hydrogen technology

The 14m-long vessel, with capacity for 16 passengers and two crew, is the result of a competition organised by Antwerp-based maritime group CMB which staged a “Build the ship of the future” competition for schools. Year 6 pupils at the Edegem municipal primary school Andreas Vesalius won the contest and are now patrons of the Hydroville.
Initially, the vessel will transport CMB employees between Kruibeke and Antwerp during the rush hour, beating the traffic jams. The ship will also be used for meetings, business dinners and excursions, and will be sent to events around Europe to demonstrate the use of hydrogen as a marine fuel. The Hydroville has 12 hydrogen tanks (205 litres at 200 bars) and two 265-litre diesel tanks to provide ignition and backup fuel. The vessel has a maximum speed of 27 knots and a cruising speed of 22 knots.
In the longer term, the dual-fuel propulsion arrangement will be tested to assess its viability for application on larger ocean-going cargo ships, and CMB plans a pilot project to install a hydrogen-powered auxiliary engine on one of its container ships.
Hydrogen has a number of advantages over other possible new fuels for shipping. It is clean, containing no CO2, NOx, SOx or particulates, and is readily available in the environment. So far, batteries for large ships would be too large and heavy and take too long to charge, whilst the cost of fuel cells makes them unsuitable for heavy transport applications in the maritime and aviation sectors.