Hydrogen Powered Hovercraft & Ferries

Propelling ferries on a new heading.
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A group of UK companies lead by Blue Bear Systems Research have been given £569,067 for Project ZEHPHyr (Zero Emission Hydrogen Powered Hovercraft) - an eight month feasibility study on replacing diesel engines in hovercraft with a zero-emission hydrogen propulsion system, leading to a demonstration of a 12 seat and 80 seat hovercraft for commercial service after 2025.

Solent Flyer, the 80-passenger hovercraft ZEHPHyr is supposed to replace. Photo: Griffon Hoverwork.
Solent Flyer, the 80-passenger hovercraft ZEHPHyr is supposed to replace. Photo: Griffon Hoverwork.

Blue Bear Systems Research contribution to the project is low-noise propulsion modules aka improved ducted fan already on aircraft, which is the most worthwhile part of the whole study. Other participants include Griffon Hoverwork, Bramble Energy, Nyobolt (batteries), Aquatera (environmental consultants) and the EMEC (European Marine Energy Centre).

Improved ducted fan from Blue Bear Systems Research. Photo: Blue Bear.
Improved ducted fan from Blue Bear Systems Research. Photo: Blue Bear.

The ZEHPHyr Project is part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition Round 2 (CMDC2). CMDC2 launched in May 2022 with £14 million in funding by the UK Department for Transport and run in partnership with Innovate UK, for feasibility studies and collaborative R&D projects in clean maritime solutions throughout the UK.
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Boundary Layer Technologies (BLT) have two small craft in development, one freight and one passenger. The freight on is the more interesting as goes against current bigger is best thoughts at the moment.

Argo
Argo

Argo
Argo

Argo loading and unloading.
Argo loading and unloading.

The craft is real undergoing prototype testing

Argo one container prototype in San Francisco harbour.
Argo one container prototype in San Francisco harbour.

The hydrogen arrangement is realistic too with large underdeck space for tanks.

Argo cutaway showing propulsion.
Argo cutaway showing propulsion.

BLT are going from the green (obviously) hydrogen angle (and why here) but would work with other energy sources especially batteries.

There other angle is speed and cutting down airfreight with larger containerised consignments, quoting 2 days from Rotterdam to Bilbao. BLT's thoughts on routes

Potential European routes for Argo.
Potential European routes for Argo.

Specs
Full size capacity: 20 TEUs
Range 1,500 nm (same as economic battery powered vessels)
Speed 40 knots
Length 33m (110ft)

Overall, if this is successful, then lots of smaller quicker ferries, faster to load and unload requiring less quay length opening up smaller ports for point to point instead of current hub and spoke model, quicker to refuel with smaller size and very automatable.

All images and photos: Boundary Layer Technologies. 
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Boundary Layer Technologies (BLT) older passenger craft is similar but battery powered instead of hydrogen. Instead of the Regent Watercraft Brittany Ferries is signed onto, these would be better, carry more although the journey time would be around twice as long. Name is not inspiring, there are several Electras doing the rounds.

Electra
Electra

Electra
Electra

Specs
Passengers 150
Range 100nm
Speed 40 knots
Battery 9 MWh (Saint Malo and Normandie II are 11.5 MWh)

BLT is targeting Greek ferry routes for the Electra, could cover 48% of current routes. In US Electra could operate on 90% of passenger ferry routes.

Greek routes Electra could cover.
Greek routes Electra could cover.

All images and photos: Boundary Layer Technologies. 
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After Hydra started operating in service as a hydrogen ferry Hydra - World’s First Hydrogen Ferry (IMO 9887530), others are not far behind in producing hydrogen powered vessels.

China just launched Sanxia Hydrogen Ship 1 on 17 March 2023 at Jianglong Shipbuilding's Science and Technology Park. She was jointly developed and built by China Three Gorges Group Yangtze Power and China State Shipbuilding Corporation’s No. 712 Research Institute to ferry people in the Three Gorges Reservoir area (Three Gorges and Gezhou Dams).

Sanxia Hydrogen Ship 1 Launch At Jianglong Shipbuilding's Science and Technology Park. Photo: Zhongshan Daily.
Sanxia Hydrogen Ship 1 Launch At Jianglong Shipbuilding's Science and Technology Park. Photo: Zhongshan Daily.

Sanxia Hydrogen Ship 1 Launch At Jianglong Shipbuilding's Science and Technology Park. Photo: Zhongshan Daily.
Sanxia Hydrogen Ship 1 Launch At Jianglong Shipbuilding's Science and Technology Park. Photo: Zhongshan Daily.

Length 49.9m
Draft 3.2m/1.85m
Speed 15 knots
Propulsion - 500kW hydrogen fuel cell with LFP batteries, range 108 nm.

Sanxia Hydrogen Ship 1 Design
Sanxia Hydrogen Ship 1 Design
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India has also just started construction of it's first hydrogen fuel cell ferry at Cochin Shipyard based on LT-PEM (Low Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane Technology) technology. As a trial vessel, 75% of the Rs 175m (~£1.75m/€1.96m/USD2.13m) funded by the Indian Government.

Indian Hydrogen Ferry Starts Construction At Cochin Shipyard. Image: Cochin Shipyard.
Indian Hydrogen Ferry Starts Construction At Cochin Shipyard. Image: Cochin Shipyard.
 
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VikingGlory wrote: 05 Apr 2023 09:20 Swedish Gotlandsbolaget and Australian shipyard Austal have signed a letter of intent to design Gotlandsbolaget's new catamaran.
·     multi-fuel / fossil-free (such as hydrogen)
The law of unintended consequences strikes again.

Research just released by Princeton and NOAA indicates hydrogen more readily reacts with the OH molecule that breaks down methane in the atmosphere preventing methane breakdown, leading to increasing levels of (25+ times more potent for warming in the atmosphere than CO₂) methane. Leaky hydrogen supply and use systems (all fuel systems are leaky) could be doing more damage than they are trying to prevent. And that is pink  and holy grail green hydrogen, blue, grey and darker colours even worse.

If pollution, not warming, is your priority then hydrogen is better overall for the environment, although not economically.
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SilverDot wrote: 05 Apr 2023 16:36
If pollution, not warming, is your priority then hydrogen is better overall for the environment, although not economically.

I must admit that pollution is my priority.
Author of "Fra LILLEBELT to SKÅNE" about train ferries and other railway owned ships in Scandinavia and the Baltic, in Scandinavian with English summaries. Free pdf-version by contacting me on "Private messages"
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SilverDot wrote: 05 Apr 2023 16:36
VikingGlory wrote: 05 Apr 2023 09:20 Swedish Gotlandsbolaget and Australian shipyard Austal have signed a letter of intent to design Gotlandsbolaget's new catamaran.
·     multi-fuel / fossil-free (such as hydrogen)
The law of unintended consequences strikes again.

Research just released by Princeton and NOAA indicates hydrogen more readily reacts with the OH molecule that breaks down methane in the atmosphere preventing methane breakdown, leading to increasing levels of (25+ times more potent for warming in the atmosphere than CO₂) methane. Leaky hydrogen supply and use systems (all fuel systems are leaky) could be doing more damage than they are trying to prevent. And that is pink  and holy grail green hydrogen, blue, grey and darker colours even worse.

If pollution, not warming, is your priority then hydrogen is better overall for the environment, although not economically.

It’s the same with the mega green LNG, which has methane slip and might fry the planet quicker than normaal MDO. Unfortunately we don’t know what the best alternative for the future is, although I do think that the LNG ships can eventually switch to bio LNG and then in the future e-LNG and that should basically be emission free, if they can eliminate methane slip, sooner than we think. I also wonder what zero emission fuel will come out of the green corridor project for Stockholm-Turku. That might set the standards for the future. 

Unfortunately shipping is under immense pressure to go green, it feels like the most out of any sector, while there’s no good alternatives. They’re even gonna have to pay for emissions soon while planes don’t face half the criticism.

Don’t get me wrong I want the world to go net zero ASAP, but it almost feels a bit unfair how the shipping industry gets treated. 
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Fugitive emissions from fossil energy production are estimated to be as much as shipping and aviation combined. Methane slip will never be eliminated as practically impossible to seal every joint fully and there are events like over pressure releases.

Biofuels and e-fuels are the fossil fuel industry trying to cling on to some vestige of a long term future. Ignoring the red herring of CO₂ and looking at total environmental effects, I would no more want to stick my head next to an e-fuels exhaust pipe than an old fashioned all natural pumped out of the ground (would qualify for a green organic supermarket label) fuel exhaust pipe. e-fuels are also incredibly energy intensive to produce. 

Bio-fuels depend on whether you are decimating forests and food crops to produce it, or via some green goo process eg algae or waste fermentation, either goo or waste fuel production scaling is hard. Stop using biofuels, let the forests regrow and use the crop lands to feed people. Ditto exhaust pipe, still poisonous.

A more idea scenario would be for short sea (and short air) to transition to battery power, up to 2,700nm is feasible and under 550nm is economic now, there just isn't the infrastructure to support it widely - see P&O Pioneer at Dover - Calais.

So to sum up, Gotlandsbolaget's new catamaran should ideally be electric, if not, low sulphur MDO.
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SilverDot wrote: 05 Apr 2023 16:36
VikingGlory wrote: 05 Apr 2023 09:20 Swedish Gotlandsbolaget and Australian shipyard Austal have signed a letter of intent to design Gotlandsbolaget's new catamaran.
·     multi-fuel / fossil-free (such as hydrogen)
The law of unintended consequences strikes again.

Research just released by Princeton and NOAA indicates hydrogen more readily reacts with the OH molecule that breaks down methane in the atmosphere preventing methane breakdown, leading to increasing levels of (25+ times more potent for warming in the atmosphere than CO₂) methane. Leaky hydrogen supply and use systems (all fuel systems are leaky) could be doing more damage than they are trying to prevent. And that is pink  and holy grail green hydrogen, blue, grey and darker colours even worse.

If pollution, not warming, is your priority then hydrogen is better overall for the environment, although not economically.
Hopefully this helps explain the heating effect of hydrogen.

Hydrogens Global Warming Effect.webp
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As part of the BalticSeaH2 project, Flexens is conducting a feasibility study on a 1,000-3,000 passenger hydrogen-powered ferry. For this, Flexens is identifying potential hydrogen-powered ferry routes in the Baltic Sea and examining hydrogen supply prerequisites.

BalticSeaH2's five year goal is to build a cross-border hydrogen valley in Europe between nine Baltic countries generating 100k tonnes of hydrogen and derivatives to be traded in the valley. 40 organisations are involved in 25 demonstration projects worth €4bn.
 
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SilverDot wrote: 01 Jun 2023 15:22 As part of the BalticSeaH2 project, Flexens is conducting a feasibility study on a 1,000-3,000 passenger hydrogen-powered ferry. For this, Flexens is identifying potential hydrogen-powered ferry routes in the Baltic Sea and examining hydrogen supply prerequisites.

BalticSeaH2's five year goal is to build a cross-border hydrogen valley in Europe between nine Baltic countries generating 100k tonnes of hydrogen and derivatives to be traded in the valley. 40 organisations are involved in 25 demonstration projects worth €4bn.
 

...and it seems, that Estonia-Finland will be the main valley. Makes sense. And also explains the need for a 1k-3k pax ferry.
source: https://www.aalto.fi/en/news/the-baltic ... baltic-sea
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Horizon Europe is funding a €13.5m ferry project whose goal is to develop, construct and demonstrate practically in 'Southern Europe', a 35m 300 passenger ferry powered by the FCM400 fuel cell system from TECO 2030. There are 14 partners from 7 EU countries to develop a functional(!) hydrogen refuelling system, the infrastructure requirements, cost optimisation during operations and efficient data management.
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MOTENA Sea, affiliated to (part owned by?) MOL has just launched Hanaria a hydrogen/biodiesel hybrid 100 passenger ferry, for delivery in March 2024 and starting service April 2024 in Fukuoka Prefecture. The ferry can be powered by hydrogen fuel cells, lithium-ion batteries or bio-diesel - a world first propulsion mixture?

Hanaria Before Launch. Photo: MOTENA Sea.
Hanaria Before Launch. Photo: MOTENA Sea.

Captain Mieko Mikuri and Hinako Osawa of Wafukari Shrine Cut The Cord. Photo: MOTENA Sea.
Captain Mieko Mikuri and Hinako Osawa of Wafukari Shrine Cut The Cord. Photo: MOTENA Sea.

Hanaria After Launch. Photo: MOTENA Sea.
Hanaria After Launch. Photo: MOTENA Sea.

Length 33m
Beam 10m
Draught 1.4m
Speed 10.5 knots
Expected 53-100% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions/
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Toyota delivered two hydrogen fuel cells for the Hanaria recently. Weighing 3 tonnes the specially constructed based on the Toyota Mirai (car) fuel cell, the Hanaria's fuel cell can output 300kW between 400-700 VDC to charge the batteries and power the ferry.
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DFDS released their Hydrogen Propulsion Feasibility Study yesterday.

"DFDS has recently launched its 'Vessels of tomorrow' programme, which will see two methanol, two electric and two ammonia vessels added to the company's fleet over the next six years. Although hydrogen is not included in the programme and DFDS is not planning to use hydrogen as a fuel in the very near future, DFDS will continue to contribute to the development of knowledge on hydrogen as part of the company's ongoing analysis of possible net-zero scenarios for both vessels and road transport."

Key findings (from report)
  • The retrofit of Magnolia Seaways with a hydrogen fuelled propulsion system, operated on the route Esbjerg-Immingham-Esbjerg and under a set of basic assumptions, is technically feasible and commercially viable.
  • In comparison with a diesel-fuelled ferry, a reduction of CO2-emissions of 40-50’000 t/a could be achieved with hydrogen, representing the operation of more than 700 heavy-duty diesel trucks.
  • Cost for hydrogen is of most significance for TCO. With H2 prices from production plant at present level, CO2 abatement cost in the range of 400 – 500 EUR/tCO2 are assumed. It is expected that the costs for H2 will be lower in the future, significantly reducing cost for decarbonisation.
  • The planned hydrogen production sites in Esbjerg by H2 Energy and CIP can provide the required quantities of renewable hydrogen, delivered via low pressure pipeline over an approx. distance of 4 km.
  • On-shore intermediate buffer storage with a capacity of 49 t of hydrogen is suggested in proximity to the DFDS pier at Port of Esbjerg. It secures a back-up for operation of approx. 2 roundtrips (in case hydrogen supply is interrupted).
  • Bunkering is performed at a refuelling rate of 10 t/h, preferably simultaneous to unloading/loading of cargo in order to keep the required time on dock minimal. It takes 2 h on average to refill the on-ship tanks.
  • On-ship safety concept envisages high pressure installations above deck and low pressure installations below deck. Approx. 27 t of hydrogen are stored in pressure vessels at 250 bar. This powers a fuel cell system delivering max. output of 15 MW.
  • The concept and preliminary design of the hydrogen-electric propulsion system and the safety system on the ship, as well as the intermediate buffer storage and bunkering system on-shore, are in line with current regulations and an “Approval in Principle” was issued by Lloyd’s Register
Also noted, current ship hydrogen projects are not advanced, mainly on just the ship propulsion not the whole ecosystem.

The hydrogen propulsion has been modelled with a 8MWh battery.

Potential hydrogen propulsion operations to start in 2027, with refit by end of Q1 2027.

Full report (48 pages) - https://assets.ctfassets.net/mivicpf5ze ... y_DFDS.pdf
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