ABB will deliver a comprehensive power, propulsion and automation system for two newbuild short sea container ships of Samskip Group headquartered in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The vessels will be among the world’s first of their kind to use hydrogen as a fuel.

Built by Cochin Shipyard Ltd in India, the 135-metre-long ships are due for delivery in Q3 and Q4 of 2025, respectively. Both vessels will be operating between Oslo Fjord and Rotterdam, a distance of approximately 700 nautical miles.

In addition to the integration of hydrogen fuel cells, ABB’s package includes the new, compact version of ABB Onboard DC Grid power distribution system that will ensure the optimal use of energy. ABB’s energy storage solution control, with automation technology of the ABB Ability System 800xA is to ensure seamless operation of onboard equipment. Through the Ability Remote Diagnostic Systems, the vessels will have 24/7 remote support.

Also read: Samskip orders two zero-emission short sea container vessels

Fuel cells running on hydrogen

Fuel cells turn the chemical energy from hydrogen into electricity through an electrochemical reaction. With the use of renewables to produce the hydrogen, the entire energy chain will be clean. Hydrogen fuel cell technology has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency.

Samskip’s vessels will be powered by a 3.2 MW hydrogen fuel cell each, with diesel generators installed for back-up. The logistics group, which aims to achieve net-zero by 2040, anticipates that each vessel will be able to avoid around 25,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year when powered by fuel cells and by using green shore power at the port of call.

While the ships are setting new standards for environmentally friendly operations, they are expected to perform at the same level as Samskip’s conventional vessels.

The project is in line with the International Maritime Organization’s revised greenhouse gas reduction strategy, which calls on reaching net-zero GHG emissions from international shipping close to 2050, with a commitment to increase the uptake of low-carbon fuels by 2030.

Also read: VIDEO: ABB reveals propulsion concept that mimics whale tail

ENOVA funding

The project is co-funded by Norwegian state enterprise ENOVA. Operating under Norway’s Ministry of Climate and Environment, ENOVA promotes a shift towards more environmentally friendly energy consumption and production, as well as the development of energy and climate technology.

Picture: Samkip’s new short-sea container vessels will be powered by hydrogen (by Naval Dynamics).

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