The SeaShuttle project has been awarded €6m by the government of Norway to work on launching onto the market autonomous container ships powered by fuel cells.
The concept initially envisages zero-emission shipping during 20% of a round trip between Poland and the Oslo Fjord, i.e. sufficient for all operations in Norwegian waters. Hydrogen needed to produce fuel cells will be supplied in a Norwegian port with the use of electrolysis.
Samskip, which offers a short sea service between Poland and Norway, is the project's lead partner, supported by FlowChange, a logistics consultancy, Kongsberg Maritime, a provider of hi-end marine technology, HYON, a provider of hydrogen technologies, and Massterly, a Kongsberg-Wilhelmsen joint venture developing autonomous vessel solutions.
"What distinguishes this project and will be key to its success is the combination of fuel and technology that will make it cost competitive with existing solutions. […] Exporters increasingly seek lower and even zero emissions transport solutions, but they need to be assured on reliability, frequency, efficiency and cost effectiveness," Are Grathen, MD, Samskip Norway, said.
Marius Gjerset, Technology Manager, Zero Emission Resource Organisation (ZERO), commented on the SeaShuttle project, "This is an important milestone on the long sailing to make the maritime sector emission free. We believe hydrogen and fuel cells are the future for large and long-distance ships, and we need projects like this in order to solve technical and practical issues."
SeaShuttle is one of the six initiatives included in Pilot-E, a €100m+ scheme set up by the Norwegians and aimed at bringing to the market solutions for future climate-neutral industries more quickly.