A new hydrogen-fuelled ferry, MF Hydra, carrying both passengers and cars, is due to commence operations today (March 31, 2023) in Norway, following around four years of major technical development by Norwegian ferry and express boat operator Norled.
MF Hydra is a hybrid vessel utilizing batteries and liquid hydrogen fuel cells which recently completed two weeks of sea trials, following tests conducted since the beginning of the year at the quay in Hjelmeland. The vessel received its final approval from the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA).
This is the first time a ferry running on liquid hydrogen has operated on a commercial route carrying passengers and cars, which it will continue to do on the Hjelmeland-Nesvik route in Norway, operated directly by Norled. The pilot project for the vessel was conducted at Hjelmeland, where Norled developed the technology and also the appropriate safety rules and regulations, approved by NMA and DNV. These are now available for future vessels fuelled by hydrogen to use, without having to develop them from scratch. The project also firmly demonstrated that liquid hydrogen can be used on ships, showing that larger ships will be able to use hydrogen over long distances where drawing on batteries is no longer possible.
Linde Engineering in Germany supplied the hydrogen systems for MF Hydra, while the Danish company Ballard developed the fuel cells that produce electricity from hydrogen. Westcon in Ølensvåg equipped and completed the vessel together with system integrator SEAM from Karmøy, which also supplied the automation scope for the hydrogen system. Corvus Energy supplied the batteries.