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Norway’s Lofoten Islands to Have Hydrogen Ferries by 2024

By November 1, 2020 3   min read  (558 words)

November 1, 2020 |

Lofoten Johny Goerend Unsplash
  • The government sets requirements for hydrogen ferries on the Bodø-Moskenes section
  • Wants to facilitate emission-free solutions on the ferries along the Norwegian coast. 

The ferry connection Bodø-Moskenes is Norway’s longest and runs over very demanding sea areas. Electric ferries will not work well enough on the stretch. Therefore, the government has decided that the next tender will presuppose the use of hydrogen technology, says Minister of Transport Knut Arild Hareide.

New tender for the ferry connection rv. 80 Bodø-Røst-Værøy-Moskenes will now be announced. In this connection, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, which is responsible for the tender, will cooperate with ferry companies, hydrogen suppliers, and other interested players in order to obtain the best possible basis for setting requirements for hydrogen as an energy carrier in the tender.

  • Norway is a world leader in environmental technology in the maritime industry. We have the opportunity to use the public procurement of ferry services to develop the best solutions for emission-free ferries. Hydrogen is a solution that will cope with the challenging conditions in this connection well. We will now work closely with the players in the market. It is important so that we find the best and safest solutions, says Hareide.

Secure ferries

The safety requirement is that a hydrogen ferry must be as safe as a regular ferry. The shipping company that is to operate the connection must obtain approvals from, among others, the Norwegian Maritime Directorate and the Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning.

  • It should be safe to take a ferry in Norway. It is important to us that it should be just as safe with a hydrogen ferry. Therefore, there will be strict safety requirements in this tender as well. Hydrogen is safe when handled properly. We must ensure that, says the Minister of Transport.

In 2021, the operation of a hydrogen ferry will start on the Hjelmeland-Nesvik connection in Rogaland. The ferry is the result of a development contract where hydrogen is used on a vessel for the first time.

  • Since the announcement of this contract in 2017, the maritime industry, suppliers of hydrogen, and Norwegian and international safety experts have worked intensively with the development of safe, maritime hydrogen technology. This shows that if we use the public tenders to set requirements, then the commercial market will further develop the technology, says Hareide.

There will also be a requirement that the ferries must be able to operate with biofuel and electricity over time.

  • Then we ensure that the route offer is maintained, even if there should be problems with hydrogen operation. What is important to us is to ensure a good transport offer between Bodø and western Lofoten. This ferry connection is important for both people and businesses in the area, says the Minister of Transport.

Further process

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration will shortly openly invite to a dialogue conference. Ferry companies, hydrogen suppliers and other interested players can participate. The aim is thus to find the best possible basis for setting requirements for hydrogen ferries in this tender.

The final announcement is planned before Christmas so that contracts can be signed before the summer of 2021. The start of operations on the ferry connection is 1 January 2024. The tender period lasts for 15 years, which is 5 years longer than the current contract. This helps reduce the risk for providers.

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