Marine

World-first zero-emission catamaran set for service in Sweden

World-first zero-emission cata...
Delivery of the Beluga 24 hydrogen catamaran is expected to take place next year
Delivery of the Beluga 24 hydrogen catamaran is expected to take place next year
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Stockholm's vessels account for five percent of the energy consumption of its public transport infrastructure
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Stockholm's vessels account for five percent of the energy consumption of its public transport infrastructure
Bird's eye view of the Beluga24 in action
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Bird's eye view of the Beluga24 in action
Delivery of the Beluga 24 hydrogen catamaran is expected to take place next year
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Delivery of the Beluga 24 hydrogen catamaran is expected to take place next year
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The world's watercraft that run on petrol and diesel play no small part in air pollution and climate change, and recently we're seeing how hydrogen could come to offer a more sustainable alternative. Sweden's Green City Ferries AB is wasting no time exploring these possibilities, placing an order for what is billed as the world's first high-speed, emission-free catamaran with an integrated battery and hydrogen fuel cell system: the Beluga24.

Sweden's waterways could be set for something of a green makeover if recent developments are anything to go by. Earlier this year, local boatbuilder Candela launched a 30-person foiling vessel billed as the world's fastest electric passenger ship, designed to displace the diesel ferries in service around the city of Stockholm, and followed it up with a sportier variant with some stunning range figures in July.

As far back as 2014, Green City Ferries AB itself has been looking to shift toward electric vessels for its people-moving operations, introducing a battery-powered vessel developed with Swedish company Echandia. The two have again joined forces on this latest move in eco-friendly marine transport, teaming up with New Zealand's Teknicraft and Italy's Studio Sculli to develop the Beluga24.

The catamaran is to be built out of carbon fiber by Green City Ferries in Sweden, and will integrate Echandia's battery and fuel cell propulsion system, which is claimed to require less hydrogen than standard and therefore offer significant weight savings. The vessel will also feature a foil amidship to lift it out of the water, reducing drag to improve range much like Candela's offerings.

Bird's eye view of the Beluga24 in action
Bird's eye view of the Beluga24 in action

“Sweden has been lagging behind internationally when it comes to electrifying shipping, but now the pace is increasing here as well," says Magnus Eriksson, CEO, Echandia. "We are proud to be a part of this project that not only contributes to reducing emissions from Stockholm’s waterborne local transport but is also the first in the world with an emission-free high-speed catamaran. The ferry will be equipped with an integrated system with both batteries and hydrogen, which is significantly more energy efficient compared to solutions with separate systems.”

According to Echandia, Stockholm's vessels account for five percent of the energy consumption of its public transport, yet around 50 percent of its carbon dioxide emissions each year, so there is a lot to be gained by a shift toward cleaner alternatives. And Stockholm mightn't be the only place turning to hydrogen as a solution. The Sea Change ferry, which is billed as the world's first commercial hydrogen fuel cell ferry, is nearing completion and expected to enter operation in San Francisco this year, while another, MF Hydra, could soon set sail in Norway.

Delivery of the Beluga24 is expected to take place in 2022.

Source: Echandia

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8 comments
8 comments
dan
good for our planet as ship emissions are dirty. I call zero emission when there is no emission, including in the production process or when recycling. obviously, nothing is free and that kind of battery etc. has to be taken care after, what can be handled but will be a huge task, not to think about all the problems caused by mining for the battery's metals...
martinwinlow
Cleary the author of this article's idea of 'sustainable' is very different to mine.

Throwing away 70% or more of the electrical energy needed to make hydrogen by hydrolysing water (so-called 'green hydrogen') and then converting it back to electricity in a fuel cell is NOT sustainable - it's just bl%$dy silly!
jerryd
For every kwh of H2 used forces 3kwh of FFs to be burned to replace it because so much loss, 75-80% making, storing, using H2. They would be far more clean, cheaper to burn bio/waste/synfuel instead.
Or better, do it with battery flying at 100mph in ground effect like a seaplane flying low at 4x the speed in more comfort.
michael_dowling
martinwinlow: Agreed it is wasteful,but then it is infinitely better than using steam methane reforming to make the H2. Some applications of H2 will HAVE to be wasteful,as batteries have too low an energy density for some applications,such as in shipping and aviation.
highlandboy
So unless the customer uses H2 that has been extracted using Renewable energy (Hydro, PV, Wind, etc), the H2 will be from Steam reforming of Methane - which releases serious quantities of CO2. Electrolysis of water wastes 70% of the energy that could otherwise be used on reducing carbon footprint elsewhere. Electrolysis is only green when the grid is providing more than 100% of the requirement for energy with renewable energy. Otherwise, it is just carbon shifting.
moreover
Comments about H2's footprint and efficiency are in danger of refusing progress unless it is perfection from the get go. Hydrogen has real potential for global shipping, unlike for cars where it can't compete. Scandinavia and Germany also have promising projects for green H2 using otherwise curtailed wind power which could change both the financial and emissions equation.
ReservoirPup
They've done the math I bet, but I'd put twice as much PV on the top. This thing doesn't need such good looks (well, the aerodynamics it does) to sell tickets well.
martinwinlow
@ michael_dowling - "...as batteries have too low an energy density for some applications, such as in shipping and aviation":

...https://www.eviation.co
https://www.pipistrel-aircraft.com/aircraft/electric-flight/alpha-electro/
https://www.electrive.com/2021/03/02/worlds-largest-electric-ferry-yet-goes-into-service-in-norway/
https://www.ship-technology.com/projects/norled-zerocat-electric-powered-ferry/
https://www.intelligenttransport.com/transport-news/120053/electric-ferry/
And my next EV purchase: https://quadrofoil.com
(and if my Tesla shares get to US$2k/share: - https://candela.com

Boom.

And whilst we are at it:
https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/infrastructure/a28748306/worlds-largest-electric-vehicle-dump-truck/

So, (the short somewhat irreverent response to your comment...) Coblers! And even if all the above did not currently exist (bar Alice) then H2 fuel cells will simply never win out over battery-electric machines anyway as the latter's 'bang-for-buck' will develop far more quickly than H2FCs ever will.