The Norwegian Government launches another large-scale hydrogen ferry project: The next tender for Norway’s longest ferry crossing in Vestfjorden will have requirements for hydrogen operation.
We are very happy to see the Government prioritizing industry development over the lowest possible costs. This decision will have many positive repercussions for the maritime industry, says CEO of NCE Maritime CleanTech, Hege Økland.
The route between Bodø and Moskenes in Vestfjorden is Norway’s longest ferry crossing, with some of the roughest weathers. Pure battery operation is thus not an option for this crossing. For the last year NCE Maritime CleanTech has worked intensively to ensure a political understanding of the importance of using the Vestfjorden tender to accelerate the technology development within hydrogen solutions.
The final decision to require hydrogen was taken on a Governmental level and announced on October 31st, as also recommended by the Public Road administration.
Prime Minister, Erna Solberg said to national broadcaster NRK: – We believe that this is a real starting point for a hydrogen industry in Norway.
Public tenders driving the development
Public requirements for zero emissions has led to an electric revolution in the Norwegian ferry market. This development has been very important both for Norwegian GHG emissions and for the competitiveness of the maritime industry in the country. Just five years after the first battery ferry “MF Ampere” was put into operation more than 450 ships in various sectors are in operation or under construction with battery technology.
To ensure zero emission also on the longer ferry crossings the Government issued a development contract for a hydrogen ferry in 2017. This ferry will be in operation for Norled outside the city of Stavanger from 2021.
– Public development contracts followed by requirements for zero emission in public tenders is an extremely important driver for technology development. Requirements for hydrogen on Norway’s longest and roughest ferry crossing will not only push the technology development it will also lead to the establishment of new facilities for hydrogen production in the north of Norway – making hydrogen available also for other vessels in that region, Økland says.
In combination with the hydrogen production plant planned by BKK, Equinor and AirLiquide in Mongstad outside of Bergen, the plant supplying the Vestfjorden ferries will ensure hydrogen is available for ships along the entire Norwegian coastline.
The Public Road Administration will soon invite operators and technology suppliers to a dialogue conference to get input for the tender development. The final tender will be announced before Christmas with the aim of signing the contract with and operator before summer 2021. The tender phase will start on January 1st, 2024 with a duration of 15 years, which is 5 years longer than the existing contract for the crossing.
Source: NCE Maritime CleanTech