Over the past three years BeHydro has developed, produced and extensively tested a dual-fuel (diesel-hydrogen) engine with a capacity of 1 MW. Based on this technology, says the company, larger engines of up to 10 MW can also be produced.

BeHydro is a joint venture of Antwerp-based shipping company CMB and Ghent-based engine manufacturer ABC. Lloyd’s Register has awarded an Approval in Principle (AiP) for the engine. According to Belgian joint venture, the engine offers the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 85 per cent. Thanks to the dual-fuel technology, the engine can continue to supply power even if no renewable energy or hydrogen is available.

‘BeHydro reinforces the recently announced EU vision on hydrogen and proves that the energy transition for large-scale applications is possible today. These include main engines for coastal shipping, inland shipping and tugboats, auxiliary engines for deep-sea vessels, but also trains and electricity generators for hospitals and data centres,’ explains Alexander Saverys, CEO of CMB. ‘In theory, any large diesel engine can be replaced by a BeHydro engine.’

Upon giving Approval in Principle, Lloyd’s Register says the engine ‘is an important development in demonstrating the potential of hydrogen as a fuel for shipping.’ To which Saverys adds: ‘The Approval in Principle is an important milestone in the launch of the BeHydro medium speed engines. It confirms that the built-in safety systems are solid proof. We now feel confident to start working on the first applications with these clean and powerful engines.’

First hydrogen tugboat

‘BeHydro has already received its first order for 2 x 2-MW dual-fuel engines that will be installed on board the HydroTug,’ says Tim Berckmoes, CEO of ABC. ‘This vessel is the very first hydrogen tugboat in the world, and will be deployed by the Port of Antwerp.’

In a first phase, the company says it can produce 100 hydrogen-powered engines per year. In addition, BeHydro is developing a mono-fuel hydrogen engine that will be ready by the second quarter of 2021.