Consortium will use hybrid CTVs to testbed zero-emissions technology

Written by Nick Blenkey
White CTVin water

MHO-Co’s hybrid CTVs will be floating test platforms for new propulsion systems combining fuel cells with advanced battery solutions. [Image: MHO-Co.]

Esbjerg, Denmark, headquartered offshore wind crew transfer vessel (CTV) operator MHO-Co is leading a consortium that aims to develop a propulsion system that will use fuel cells and a new type of liquid-cooled battery to eliminate CO2 emissions.

MHO-Co is currently building two of the world’s first CTVs with hybrid propulsion, and these vessels will be the focal point of the project, in which it is partnering with Danfoss, Ballard Power Systems Europe A/S, Sterling PlanB, Stuart Friezer Marine and research engineers from Aalborg University.

With support from Denmark’s Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program (EUDP), the consortium will spend EUR 4.5 million ver the next three years on developing green solutions for shipping, with MHO-Co testing fuel cells and new battery technology on its advanced hybrid vessels.

“The aim is to develop environmentally-friendly technology to replace fossil fuels and dominate the maritime industry in the future,” says Mik Henriksen, CEO and Founder of MHO-Co. “With the EUDP grants as well as with knowledge and innovation from other participants, we will set new standards for what is possible in the maritime industry.”

Ballard Power Systems Europe A/S will develop the fuel cells for the project.

“Based on our experience with fuel cells for heavy transport, we are now focusing on how fuel cells and hydrogen can also become the green solution of the future in the maritime sector,” says Kristina Fløche Juelsgaard, director at Ballard Power Systems Europe A/S. “This project is groundbreaking because together we can test the different options and find a sustainable solution, which can be approved by the authorities and live up to the current requirements for new technologies.”

Another pillar of the project will be its use of advanced energy storage systems for maritime use. This is where Sterling PlanB contributes to the project.

“Sterling PlanB has long prided itself on engineering the safest and most robust energy storage systems available on the market, in support of emissions reductions,” says Brent Perry, CEO of Sterling PlanB. “Our battery technology is engineered to be the most robust lithium battery possible, for a cost-effective, sustainable solution. We’re very proud to be a part of this project and partnering with like-minded experts in the industry to support shipping’s decarbonization challenges.”

Set for delivery from China’s Afai Southern Shipyards this summer, MHO-Co’s two new hybrid CTVs will go to work for Ørsted, serving the Hornsea Project 2 wind farm in the North Sea. Designed in cooperation with Incat Crowther, the 35-meter catamarans have a Danfoss Editron propulsion system.

“Our two new vessels are built as floating test platforms,” says Henriksen. “They are designed to be adapted to the environmentally-friendly energy systems of the future—simply by replacing engine and propulsion packages. And since the vessels are catamarans, we have four platforms providing even better conditions for testing and comparing different sustainable solutions.”

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