DFDS and its partners have applied for EU support for development of a ferry powered by electricity from a hydrogen fuel cell, which only emits water. Green hydrogen is to be produced by a projected offshore wind energy-powered electrolyser plant in Greater Copenhagen.

A group of companies has partnered up in order to develop a 100 per cent hydrogen powered ferry for DFDS’ Oslo – Frederikshavn – Copenhagen route. The ferry will be powered by electricity from a hydrogen fuel cell system that emits only water and can produce up to 23 MW to propel the ferry.

‘The largest fuel cell systems today produce only 1 to 5 MW, and the development of such large-scale fuel cell installations for an electric ferry is a monumental task,’ says Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS. ‘We can only succeed in partnerships with companies that together can muster some of the globe’s finest expertise in design, approval, building, financing and operation of innovative vessels.’

‘Together, we expect to learn how to make these fuel types and technologies commercially viable, which is key to a transition of the industry to climate neutrality, which is also the ultimate goal of DFDS’ climate plan,’ adds Carlsen.

EU Innovation Fund

The partnership has applied for support from the EU Innovation Fund. As there are no ferries of this kind in the world today, the development of the ferry will also require public involvement. However, if the project develops as projected, the ferry could be in full operation on the route as early as 2027.

The hydrogen will be produced locally in Greater Copenhagen based on offshore wind, and the project will investigate how to optimally integrate with the local energy system.

The ferry that has the working name Europa Seaways, is designed for 1800 passengers and has capacity for 120 lorries or 380 cars.

Vessel and route details

  • On board power production: PEM Fuel cells
  • Engine power: 23 MW
  • Fuel: Compressed hydrogen
  • Fuel tank capacity: 44 tonnes
  • Passenger capacity: 1800
  • Trailer & car capacity: 2300 lane metres
  • Route: Copenhagen – Frederikshavn – Oslo
  • Roundtrip time: 48 hours
  • Bunkering interval: 48 hours
  • CO2e/year emission avoidance: 64,000 tonnes

The partnership committed to achieving this includes DFDS, ABB, Ballard Power Systems Europe, Hexagon Purus, Lloyd’s Register, Knud E. Hansen, Ørsted and Danish Ship Finance.