SeaShuttle, a project that aims to build two hydrogen-powered, remotely controlled and autonomous-ready containerships for delivery by 2025 has secured NOK150 million (just over $15 million) in funding from Norwegian state enterprise ENOVA.
The project, led by Rotterdam multimodal transport and logistics group Samskip and marine robotic ship specialist Ocean Infinity, plans to put two SeaShuttle ships into emissions-free operation between Oslo Fjord and Rotterdam. Each will be powered by a 3.2 MW hydrogen fuel cell.
Originally announced at Nor-Shipping 2022 in April, the Samskip-Ocean Infinity partnership covers both the construction and operation of the ships, in a collaboration seeking to push forward towards zero-emission, efficient and safe, multimodal logistics.
“Securing this funding provides a platform to make emissions-free container shipping a reality,” said Are Gråthen, CEO, Samskip Norway. “Together, Samskip and Ocean Infinity will also accelerate their plans to advance autonomous ship technologies, and remote operation of ships and cargo handling equipment. These ships are the first part of an exciting collaboration with Ocean Infinity.”
In line with commitments made in the COP26 Clydebank Declaration, SeaShuttle would create what amounted to one of Europe’s first zero-emission “green corridors,” he added.
“Ocean Infinity’s enabling technologies can facilitate green corridors but also the broader decarbonization and transformation of maritime operations,” said Christoffer Jorgenvag, CCO at Ocean Infinity. “The emphasis today is on the SeaShuttle vessels, which are just part of Ocean Infinity’s overall strategy of unlocking innovation to deliver truly sustainable maritime operations. We would like to thank Enova for their support for our vision which represents a firm endorsement of our ground-breaking approach and allows us to proceed at full speed in bringing this project to life.”
The funding means the partners can move forward to contract two new 500 TEU ships installed with a main propulsion solution that can be adapted to run on hydrogen fuel. Diesel electric propulsion plant will be on board as back up, although Gråthen emphasized: “We have faith that green hydrogen will be affordable and available in Norway”.