The revolutionary “HyShip” project_

‘HyShip’ project gets 8-million-euro boost

A couple of months back, the world witnessed the presentation of the “Oceanbird” concept—a car-carrying vessel designed to utilize wind as its primary source of power. This time, it’s Norwegian maritime industry group Wilhelmsen’s turn to present another groundbreaking maritime innovation. The substantial 8-million euro funding will strengthen the focus on development and commercialization of hydrogen as a carbon-neutral fuel, as perceived by the Norwegian government.

The revolutionary “HyShip” project embraces 14 European partners collaborating on the design and construction of a new ro-ro (roll-on roll-off) demonstration running on liquid green hydrogen (LH2), as well as the establishment of a viable LH2 supply chain and bunkering platform. Operated by Wilhelmsen, it will also distribute LH2 to hydrogen hubs along the Norwegian coast. It is slated to be operational in 2024.

The project aims to lower the development and operational cost of a broader move to LH2 for ship propulsion throughout Europe. The funding from the European Union’s Research and Innovation program Horizon 2020 under the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH2 JU) is subject to the signing of a grant agreement by the HyShip partners by the end of this year.

Going under the concept name “Topeka”, the vessel will be the first of its kind to enter commercial service. Providing a 2-in-1 solution, it will sail on a fixed schedule carrying both coastwise customer cargo and containerized LH2 to the bunkering hubs. Norway’s west coast is dotted with bases serving the offshore industries, with base-to-base transport representing a heavy-duty transport route eminently suited to LH2. “HyShip” will be a large-scale validation of both the ship, its innovative power system, and the distribution network. The bunkering hubs will in the future supply LH2-powered vessels including ferries and seagoing tonnage.

“Hydrogen as fuel enables opportunities for low, or zero-emission shipping. Topeka will be our first step towards scalable LH2-fueled maritime operations. We shall create a full LH2 infrastructure and commercial ecosystem, while at the same time removing yearly some 25,000 trucks from the roads”, said Per Brinchmann, vice president of special projects at Wilhelmsen.

Frida Eklöf Monstad, vice president of logistics and emergency response in Equinor, for his part, shared, “A hydrogen-driven coastliner that has a regular frequency is a very promising transportation alternative for Equinor’s bases on the west coast of Norway. This zero-emission vessel service will also be a valuable demonstrator of the technology development supporting Equinor’s ambitions to move cargo from road to sea and to halve emissions from our maritime activities in Norway by 2030.”

“Maritime is a large contributor of global GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions and thus a priority sector to decarbonize. Hydrogen and fuel cells have the potential to propel vessels in a zero-emission fashion, and various ship types are starting to integrate them. HyShip will be a worldwide forerunner innovation for its use of liquid hydrogen, the size of the fuel cell and the concept for the LH2 distribution,” added Bart Biebuyck, executive director at FCH2 JU.

The Topeka vessel will be built for zero-emission through a combination of 1,000 kWh battery capacity and a 3-megawatt PEM (proton exchange membrane) hydrogen fuel cell. Hydrogen will be sourced from the new LH2 production plant planned at Mongstad outside Bergen by BKK, Equinor and Air Liquide.

“HyShip” will also conduct three replicator studies, including a smaller, 1-MW tanker barge for use on inland waterways, a 3-MW fast ferry and scaling-up research on a more extensive, 20-MW energy system for deep-sea vessels using a capsize bulk carrier as the replicator.

The HyShip consortium headed by Wilhelmsen will partner with Kongsberg Maritime (NO), LMG Marin (NO & FR), Equinor (NO), Norled (NO), PersEE (FR), Diana Shipping (GR), Stolt-Nielsen Inland Tanker Service BV (NL), Air Liquide (FR), NCE Maritime CleanTech (NO), DNV GL, ETH Zürich (CH), Strathclyde University (UK), and Demokritos (GR).

2-stroke ammonia-fueled vessel engine in development

Meanwhile, another exciting development looms in the maritime industry to further propel its drive for greener operation. In a recent report by Splash247, Innovation Fund Denmark, the Danish investment entity, has announced the establishment of a consortium to develop a 2-stroke, ammonia-fueled engine for shipping. It aims to specify and demonstrate an entire marine-propulsion system that will pave the way for the first commercial order for an ammonia-fueled vessel.

“MAN Energy Solutions will lead the consortium that also includes Eltronic FuelTech, the Danish fuel-system supplier, the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and class society DNV GL. Development of the engine is scheduled for 2024.” (

“MAN Energy Solutions has spoken in favor of a maritime energy transition in shipping for many years now, and we understand the need to work with a wide group of industry partners to develop sustainable solutions. Ammonia is a fuel with a lot of potentials and yet another, important step towards decarbonizing the marine market. We already have a convincing track-record in developing engines running on alternative fuels—having developed the world’s first 2-stroke engines driven respectively by methanol, ethane and LPG—and have great expectations for this project,” said Brian Østergaard Sørensen, vice president at MAN Energy Solutions.

( and photos by Wilhelmsen and Splash247)