Skip to main content

Clean waterborne transport in Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FLAGSHIPS (Clean waterborne transport in Europe)

Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2020-04-30

Climate change is affecting a society in numerous ways and reducing the CO2 and other GHG emissions is a task where all countries and business sectors must work together to reach the targets. Thus, also shipping industry is facing an unparalleled change as the ever-tightening emission restrictions from IMO and from national authorities direct companies to look for alternative, sustainable technologies. Long lifetime of vessels causes an issue for shipping industry as well, and due to that low- or zero-emission solutions are needed already in near future.

The FLAGSHIPS project sets out to raise the readiness of hydrogen-powered waterborne transport to an entirely new level globally. The core of the project consists of two demonstration vessels (in Lyon and in Stavanger) and their operations where the technology, business viability and social acceptability of zero-emission shipping based on hydrogen fuel cells will be illustrated to commercial extent. Thus, the top-level aim of the FLAGSHIPS project is clear: to raise the technical, business and regulatory readiness of fuel cells and hydrogen as a means to zero-emission waterborne transport of freight and passengers to a new level. Project will also provide a lessons learnt and identify bottlenecks in implementation of H2 technologies in shipping sector and thus, provide valuable information for other projects to come.

The straight impact of the FLAGSHIPS project is that it will lead to ca. 1500 tons of CO2 reduction per year in Europe. Furthermore, it will provide a roadmap for further annual reduction of CO2 by 1.7 Mton in Europe.
In the first reporting period, the work has been concentrated on the definition and design phase.

During the first reporting period, definitions for requirements for marine specific fuel cell system were defined. Close communication between the partners were held to collect knowledge and requirements. Also, workshops with classification societies and national authorities were held. And lastly, intense R&D work was conducted in Ballard's marine centre of excellence offices and as a result general requirement specification of the system was established.

In the two demo vessel cases, work has been concentrating on the design of the vessels themselves, route studies, ship specifications, design of the hydrogen systems on board and the related systems. This includes detailed design of hydrogen processing onboard, all auxiliary systems and safety related issues and systems. Also, work on power-train design and specification has been conducted. As a result of all of this work, vessel concepts and specifications were completed. In addition, detailed subsystem design is also ready, only pending a few details which will be decided later on in the project.
For the safety considerations of the vessels, intensive work has been performed. The process of designing a hydrogen fuel cell for use in a shipping industry is a new concept and there is not much experience to lean on. Thus, the process has been iterative. Without a formal set of rules and regulations all parts of the system must be analyzed in a risk-based approach. Pre-HAZID and HAZID workshops have been conducted in the project and will be continued during the process at the same time as the final details of the design are settled.
Lastly, the construction of the hull of the Stavanger vessel has already been started at the yard.

Also, in this project understanding of the national and international regulatory framework has been deepened by providing an update on the review of regulations, codes and standards for marine applications.

FLAGSHIPS project has also done extensive work on dissemination and communication of the project objectives, impacts, progress and achieved results. Project website and social media account (LinkedIn, Facebook) were launched. Several press releases (7), premade stories (3), presentations at conferences (46) were made. Furthermore, the project has been actively engaging in discussions on zero-emission energy systems for inshore transport on political and regulatory level, and the project has been actively featured in various forums. It has been estimated that the total estimated audience for project dissemination and communication activities has been nearly 2 million persons.
FLAGSHIPS project will accelerate the deployment of hydrogen and PEM fuel cells in marine application beyond the current state-of-the-art (SotA). 400kW and 600kW fuel cell power installed for two vessels in the project clearly exceeds those ones that have already been installed in commercial applications in waterborne sector. Also, the technological development of PEM fuel cell module will be pushed to the new level during the project. Both volumetric and gravimetric power density will be improved.

FLAGSHIPS will also create new business opportunities for companies as building of zero-emission vessels and local H2 supply will emerge as new sectors of growth.

Project will also push forward the development of safety approval practices and this work is already well on way.

The main expected result of the project is that it will demonstrate that hydrogen-fuel cell -powered zero emission waterway transport is possible to implement to commercial operations already today. This ambitious target is unprecedented.
Schematic of Stavanger ferry
Schematic of Lyon pusher vessel