Norway to be first with hydrogen fueled ferry? Maybe not

Written by Nick Blenkey
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JANUARY 14, 2019 — The race is on to build the world’s first hydrogen powered ferry. Norwegian operator Norled has beaten out competitors Fjord 1 and Boreal to win a Norwegian Public Roads Administration contract for the development, construction and operation of a hydrogen-electric ferry where at least 50 per cent of the energy requirement is covered by hydrogen.

The ferry will enter operation in 2021 connecting the national road 13 between Hjelmeland – Skipavik – Nesvik in Rogaland and will carry up to 299 passengers and 80 cars.

Norled is claiming that the ferry will be a “world first.” That may depend on how you define “ferry.”

As we reported earlier (see story), back in June last year olden Gate Zero Emission Marine (GGZEM) was awarded a $3 million grant by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to build what will be the first hydrogen fuel cell vessel in the United States — and, says GGZEM, the first commercial fuel cell ferry in the world.

GGZEM’s partners in the project include: Bay Ship & Yacht Co., BAE Systems, Hydrogenics, Red and White Fleet, Incat Crowther, Hexagon Composites, OMB-Saleri, the Port of San Francisco, and Sandia National Laboratories.

Called the Water-Go-Round, the 70 foot aluminum catamaran, designed by Incat Crowther, will carry 84 passengers, have a 22 knot top speed and will be built by the Bay Ship & Yacht Co.
shipyard in Alameda, which laid the vessel’s keel last November with completion planned for September this year.

Though the Water-Go-Round is smaller than the planned Norled vessel, it looks like it will be operational very much sooner.

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