ABB to power Samskip hydrogen-fueled container vessels

ABB Samskip

  • ABB has secured a complete power, propulsion and automation systems order for Samskip Group’s hydrogen-powered container vessels
  • According to ABB vessels are among the first in the world to demonstrate the potential of hydrogen fuel cells as a clean and renewable fuel source
  • Compact ABB Onboard DC Grid power distribution system provides improved performance, efficiency and system safety

ABB will deliver a comprehensive power distribution system for two newbuild short-sea container ships. The project is for the global logistics company Samskip Group headquartered in Rotterdam, Netherlands. According to ABB the vessels will be among the world’s first of their kind to use hydrogen as a fuel. Financial details were not disclosed. The order was booked in the second quarter of 2023.

The ships will be buitl by Cochin Shipyard Ltd. The 135-meter ships are due for delivery in Q3 and Q4 of 2025, respectively. Both vessels will be operating between Oslo Fjord and Rotterdam, a distance of approximately 700 nautical miles.

The ABB Package

In addition to the integration of hydrogen fuel cells, ABB’s package includes the new, compact version of ABB Onboard DC Grid power distribution system. This will ensure the optimal use of energy on board. The vessels will also feature ABB’s energy storage solution control, with the automation technology, ABB Ability System 800xA, ensuring seamless operation of onboard equipment. Leveraging ABB Ability Remote Diagnostic Systems, the vessels will benefit from optimised safety and performance through 24/7 remote support.

Juha Koskela, Division President, ABB Marine & Ports. said: “ABB is delighted to collaborate with Samskip and Cochin Shipyard Limited on this project which will help to avoid emissions and reduce operational expenses, ABB is at the forefront of shipping’s most ambitious plans for decarbonization and setting new standards for green maritime transportation.”

Hydrogen fuel cell technology

Fuel cells turn the chemical energy from hydrogen into electricity through an electrochemical reaction. With the use of renewables to produce the hydrogen, the entire energy chain will be clean. Hydrogen fuel cell technology is considered as one of the most promising solutions to support shipping industry’s decarbonization agenda, with the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency.

Samskip’s vision

Samskip’s vessels will be powered by a 3.2 MW hydrogen fuel cell each, with diesel generators installed for back-up. The logistics group, which aims to achieve net-zero by 2040, anticipates that each vessel will be able to avoid around 25,000 tons of CO2 emissions a year when powered by fuel cells and by using green shore power at the port of call. The ships are expected to set new standards for environmentally friendly operations. However they are expected to perform at the same level as Samskip’s conventional vessels.

The project is in line with the International Maritime Organization’s revised greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction strategy. The strategy calls on reaching net-zero GHG emissions from international shipping close to 2050, with a commitment to increase the uptake of low-carbon fuels by 2030.

ABB and Samskip

Erik Hofmeester, Head of Fleet Management, Samskip Group. said: “Samskip’s level of ambition on emissions requires partners like ABB, with similar objectives for innovation and the willingness to invest in the future, these ships are a milestone for the maritime industry, delivering hydrogen fuel cells as a clean and renewable technology.”

Madhu S Nair, Chairman and Managing Director, Cochin Shipyard Limited said: “Cochin Shipyard is proud to partner with ABB in strengthening our position as an early mover in sustainable technology and supporting India’s vision to become a Global Hub for building Green Ships.

The project is co-funded by Norwegian state enterprise ENOVA. Operating under Norway’s Ministry of Climate and Environment. ENOVA promotes a shift towards more environmentally friendly energy consumption and production, as well as the development of energy and climate technology.

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