The H2SHIPS consortium gathered in Brussels for two days of meeting and workshop sessions aimed at facilitating knowledge exchange on the progress of the pilots in Belgium and the Netherlands and developing action plans for the upcoming and final deliverables. The consortium would like to thank Hydrogen Europe for its warm welcome and for hosting the event.
Construction of bunkering station in Ostend and port vessel in Amsterdam to start soon
As announced in our third newsletter published in April this year, both pilot projects are progressing according to plan. Port of Amsterdam will soon announce the shipyard that will be awarded the construction of the port vessel Neo Orbis. In the port of Ostend, the design studies of the stationary refuelling station are completed, and the electric infrastructure and safety equipment necessary for secure operation will be erected starting end 2022. It is expected that both investments will be commissioned in early 2023, leaving sufficient time to perform tests and assess the overall performance of the pilots.
During the project meeting, Jan Allaert from Port of Ostend presented some facts about the port and its history such as its recent transformation towards an energy port. Ostend has become a major hub for the offshore wind business and an additional 221 km² zone was allocated in 2020 for construction of new wind parks. The motivation for the hydrogen refuelling station lies in the important carbon footprint associated with the O&M activities of the wind industry. Several fossil fuel crew transfer vessels are in operation in the North Sea, and the first projects for hydrogen-powered vessels are underway. The refuelling station which will initially be supplied with hydrogen by trucks will supply more than 600 kg H2 per day to 4 ships during the first stage of its operation.
Patricia Haks from Port of Amsterdam recalled the approach followed for the design of the Neo Orbis ship. First, interviews were conducted with vessels users to get a first list of specifications. It was clear that the long range needed and small size of the ship would exclude an electric propulsion only based on batteries. After discussions with TU Delft, it was decided to opt for an innovative propulsion system based on the use of sodium borohydride as fuel for the range extender system. The technical design of the hydrogen unit was later performed by TU Delft and H2 Fuel BV and the installation was tested at MARIN in the Netherlands. Patricia Haks also explained that circularity is at the core of the Neo Orbis project and that recycled materials will be used for the boat construction which will start in summer this year.
Klaas Visser and Ana Carolina Oliveira Alves from TU Delft presented other projects and initiatives linked to the Dutch pilot: H2CARGOSHIP, a study to scale up the Neo Orbis technology to cargo scale; BORE2ACTOR, an initiative focussing on the regeneration of spent sodium borohydride fuel; and a feasibility study conducted together with Lafarge aiming at implementing the same technology onboard a push boat operating on the Seine in France. This shows that the learnings from H2SHIPS can be exploited by various stakeholders in North-West Europe and support fuel-scale decarbonisation of inland waterways.
EU’s Fitfor55 package a key legal framework to decarbonise shipping
The second part of the consortium meeting was dedicated to a presentation of H2SHIPS partner Transport & Environment on the Fitfor55 package. This package which covers EU’s climate, energy and transport related legislation is currently being discussed by MEPs to align current laws with the 2030 and 2050 climate neutrality ambitions. T&E has conducted a study to identify improvements to be made to the current package.
The regulatory package consists of several laws that can be sorted into two categories:
- Carbon pricing mechanisms including the EU Emissions Trading scheme and the EU energy tax directive,
- “Command and control schemes” including the EU Renewable Directive, the Low GHG fuel standard (also called FuelEU Maritime) and the alternative fuel infrastructure.
All these laws and regulations have an impact on the decarbonisation of EU shipping. According to the analysis performed by T&E, about one third of all shipping related emissions can be cut via energy efficiency measures. T&E believes that green molecules such as hydrogen and ammonia must be supported to achieve EU’ decarbonisation targets and advocates for the improvement of existing regulations. The clean transport campaign group thinks that carbon pricing is not sufficient to fill the gap between fossil and alternative marine fuels and suggests introducing subsidies in the form of Carbon Contract for Differences (CCfDs) to ensure the deployment of green vessels. Regarding the FuelEU Maritime framework, T&E pleads for moving the targets ahead by 5 years to promote electricity and e-H2-based fuels and effectively disincentivize fossil fuels.
During the partners meeting, T&E also presented the results of its latest study which assesses the cost increase in seaborne transport if the ambition of the current FuelEU maritime and the Maritime ETS is strengthened. The study (available here) concludes that when it comes to daily consumer goods imported from China, the extra cost of ambitious Fitfor55 regulations would be negligible, representing only a few Euro cents, for instance, for a pair of sneakers. The consortium warmly thanked Faig Abbasov, director of the shipping program at T&E, for this insight which sparked a lively discussion.
The preparation of the final H2SHIPS deliverables has started
One of the key objectives of the partner meeting in Amsterdam was to agree on action plans for the major deliverables of H2SHIPS to be submitted during the first half of 2023. Working sessions were held to best coordinate the tasks necessary to draft the deliverables.
Report and studies will be published regularly until the end of the project. Please visit the download section of our webpage to access all dissemination materials and deliverables already published, and follow our LinkedIn account to stay up to date on all developments.