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Wilhelmsen, NorSea and partners receive USD 3.7 million in funds to develop liquid hydrogen supply chain for maritime applications in Norway

Wilhelmsen and NorSea play an important part in a big project where environmentally friendly liquid hydrogen can be offered to commercial shipping in large scale supply within first quarter 2024.
Press release |

Together with major industry players such as Equinor, Viking Cruises, Air Liquide, and more, this is a huge and important step towards a sustainable future, and it aligns perfectly with Wilhelmsen’s long-term strategy supporting the UN sustainable development goals. The project was today awarded a grant of NOK 33.5 million (USD 3.7 million) from the governmental PILOT-E scheme, whose objective is to promote rapid development and deployment of new, environment-friendly technology products and services.

Clean and sustainable shipping is key to reach national and international emission targets. Today, liquid hydrogen is considered as one of the optimal zero-emission fuels for ships with high energy demands. It has already been selected for Norway’s first hydrogen ferry, which will be in operation for Norled on the Hjelmeland connection starting in 2021. The consortium’s goal is to kick-start the local market with liquid hydrogen-based on electrolysis.

Furthermore, Wilhelmsen and NorSea Group will develop a new and flexible liquid hydrogen distribution concept, including Zero-emission ships for transport plus terminals at the NorSea supply bases for storage and bunkering. Norled, Wilhelmsen and Viking Ocean Cruises participate in the project as hydrogen users on their vessels. The hydrogen terminals will also enable supply to other types of end-users such as buses and heavy-duty transport.

Crucial next step

Jannicke Hilland, CEO, BKK, said: “This is a very important day for the industry and for the maritime sector. Currently, there are ongoing hydrogen projects within the fields of cruise ships, offshore vessels, ferries and fast ferries in Norway, but in order to accelerate shipping’s transition to zero-emission solutions, we need to establish a supply chain for green hydrogen. This project, therefore, gives great potential for both industrial development and significant emission reductions.”

Lars Strandberg, VP Hydrogen Energy Europe Industries, Air Liquide, said: “Air Liquide brings to the project more than 40 years of experience in producing and distributing liquid hydrogen, safely and reliably.  Liquid hydrogen-based on renewable energy will become a competitive zero-emission option for shipping when produced at strategic locations in large volumes, and when offered through an efficient and secured supply chain. The project aims to facilitate the efficient and secured supply chain to make this transition happen”.  

Never seen before

Steinar Eikaas, Vice President for Low carbon solutions, Equinor, said: “This value chain would be a first of its kind in the world, and would be an important step in developing clean fuels for the maritime sector. Equinor is happy to be part of this strong consortium, and to be working with the very innovative and forward-looking Norwegian maritime ecosystem which includes public and private actors.”

Trond Moengen, Director of PILOT-E said: «We are happy to support an ambitious and innovative project that will be of great importance for the development towards zero-emission shipping, both in Norway and internationally. Hydrogen is one of the solutions we have great expectations for, and this project will contribute to promoting Norway’s leading position within the development of green maritime solutions.”

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