Friday, August 9, 2019

Belgian Shipping and Logistics Group Sets the Tone for a Hydrogen Powered Maritime Future

From Ferries to Offshore Wind Farm Support Vessels 120 Year Old Group Looks Forward
Shipping News Feature
BELGIUM – EUROPE – JAPAN – The Antwerp headquartered diversified shipping and logistics group CMB has released a plethora of information as it progresses its plans to develop hydrogen powered vessels to service a variety of industries. Formed in 1895 CMB has a history of always staying ahead of the game and looking to the future.

Now CMB has acquired UK based Revolve Technologies Limited (RTL) a company which specialises in the engineering, development, prototyping, design and testing of automotive and marine engines, and which has been working on hydrogen combustion engines (H2ICE) and systems for over a decade. RTL it was which developed the engines on board the CMB-owned Hydroville, the world’s first sea-going vessel with dual fuel diesel-hydrogen engines.

RTL will be rebranded as CMB Revolve Technologies as part of the CMB Technologies outfit but will remain operational from Brentwood, Essex. The company will continue to focus on CMB’s hydrogen projects whilst also supplying consultancy services to third party customers in the automotive and marine industries.

Further afield CMB is to work with Tsuneishi Facilities & Craft (TFC) at that company’s facilities in Onomichi, Japan to build the world’s first passenger ferry powered by a dual fuel hydrogen-diesel internal combustion main engine. The project is intended as a revolutionary step toward Japan’s vision to become a leading hydrogen society by 2050.

Looking at recent developments, last year, CMB and fellow countrymen ABC Engines, created BeHydro, a joint venture that focuses on the development, design and marketing of medium speed hydrogen combustion engines (mono fuel hydrogen and dual fuel hydrogen-diesel). After an extensive period of testing, BeHydro is pleased to announce that it aims to commercially launch its first hydrogen medium speed engine in the course of 2020.

Engines currently under development have a power range between 0,8 and 2.8 MW and are available in 6, 8, 12 and 16 cylinder configurations. These units are designed for versatility, possible uses are as marine main engine for tugboats, ferries and barges, marine auxiliary engines for all sea-going ships, land-based generators for clean electricity generation and cold ironing, green back-up generator sets, hydrogen locomotive engines, etc.with the benefit of reducing CO2 emissions between 50 and 100%.

Finally Windcat Workboats, a supplier of dedicated crew transfer vessels (CTV’s) for the offshore wind industry is working with CMB Technologies on development of its hydrogen-powered craft, among the first of which will be supplied to Swedish group Vattenfall. The energy giant started building Hollandse Kust Zuid (HKZ) 1&2 last year and will be the world's first offshore wind project built without public subsidies and will be serviced by the new vessels.

Earlier this month Vattenfall won the tender for the second phase of the Dutch offshore wind farm (HKZ 3 & 4), again without subsidy, and the two farms have a potential energy output of 1.5GW. HKZ 1&2, located 22 kilometres off the coast, is scheduled to be commissioned in 2022 and the hydrogen CTV, named HydroCat, will be able to transport 24 service engineers from the coast to the offshore windmill farms at a cruise speed of 25 knots, propelled by 2 x 1000 horsepower units with a consumption of 170 kilogrammes of hydrogen per day.