Aiming to ensure efficient and high-quality maritime hydrogen technology

Researchers at NORCE plan to develop and test technical solutions for using liquid hydrogen for sea transport. This will be one of the main projects under the Norwegian Government’s Green Platform Initiative, and shall contribute towards safe and efficient implementation.

Sist oppdatert: Jun 25, 2021
Published Jun 10, 2021

Hydrogen solutions may provide a replacement for fossil fuels in the maritime sector, and may play a key role in the transition to zero-emissions solutions for the transport sector. However, certain challenges still remain in relation to implementation of hydrogen for maritime transport.

“With a Green Platform main project, we should be able to solve the challenges for the end user,” explains Fionn Iversen, researcher at NORCE and Project Manager for the main project.

NORCE, in collaboration with partners, has applied for funding for the Green Platform main project, Optimized Safe Hydrogen Powered Maritime Mobility.

MF Hydra Illustrasjon Norled
Norled’s hydrogen powered ferry, MF Hydra, will be the world’s first passenger ferry powered by hydrogen. (

Illustration: Norled

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Aiming to improve energy efficiency

“One of the challenges we have met are the high costs involved in making the change to hydrogen powered maritime vessels. We plan to develop and demonstrate solutions that optimise hydrogen consumption and lifetime. This will improve energy efficiency for hydrogen powered vessels. The energy optimisation target is 10-20% energy saving and a corresponding extension to lifetime, which will reduce both investments and operating costs, thereby making hydrogen more competitive as a maritime fuel,” explains Fionn Iversen.

More extensive data required

Yet another challenge to be faced is the difficulties involved in the processes required to obtain operating permits. More extensive data is required for both classification and operating permits, as this type of dataset is currently limited. By extending the basic data available and preparing customised procedures, including risk analyses, the operating processes can be simplified.

“We plan, for example, to test how the system works with varying loads, based on the ship’s speed and in different weather conditions and currents,” explain Fionn Iversen.

Important project for society

By improving technology and the specifications for permits, the project has the potential to make a positive contribution in general to the transition to low-carbon fuels for maritime transport. Without such a transition, emissions from maritime transport may well increase to 17% of the total CO2 emissions worldwide by 2050, so this is also an important project for society.

Testing prior to use

The main project shall be linked with extensive implementation for hydrogen for sea transport via the establishment of a full-scale test facility in the Sustainable Energy Norwegian Catapult Centre.

“The systems shall be developed, simulated and tested in the test facility before they are commissioned by the industry,” says Fionn Iversen.

Energy House Foto Sustainable Energy
The Sustainable Energy Norwegian Catapult Centre is the world’s first full-scale test centre for new fuel types for the maritime industry. The Centre has been developed to test technology and new solutions in order to shorten the process from idea to market. NORCE is one of the partners involved in the Centre. (

Photo. Sustainable Energy

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Norway playing a leading role

A main project will be instrumental in affording Norway a leading role in the implementation of hydrogen for maritime use, with the potential for significant growth as demand for hydrogen increases globally.

“The technology and systems that will be developed during the project may in the future turn out to be export commodities, creating value via export and providing new green employment,” confirms Fionn Iversen.

National and European collaboration

The initiative has close links with the ongoing PILOT-E project “Liquid hydrogen to decarbonize maritime transport in Norway”, on which NORCE is a research partner. This project encompasses the entire value chain from production, storage and transport to utilisation onboard ferries and express boats. NORCE’s contribution, in collaboration with research partners, relates to technical issues and safety, and how to achieve acceptance for hydrogen as a source of energy.

This work will also be linked to the EU project, HyShip, for maritime coastal transport of cargo, and the development of hydrogen powered ferries, such as Hjelmeland and Vestfjorden. In addition to the current partners and supporting companies and organisations, the project will involve interaction with relevant operating companies, suppliers, classification societies and governance organisations.

Expertise project

NORCE has also applied for an expertise project as a part of the Green Platform main project. NORCE aims to own and manage this expertise project. The purpose is to obtain increased knowledge in order to contribute to further cost-related gains and energy savings.

NOK 1 billion from the Norwegian government

The Norwegian government has granted total funding of NOK 1 billion to the Research Council of Norway, Innovation Norway and Siva for main projects under the Green Platform Initiative. The revised national budget includes a proposal to provide further funding of NOK 100 million to the scheme.

Green Platform’s objective is to facilitate green growth and sustainable industry and commerce. All green projects within research and innovation, from the most basic research and up to solutions that can be presented to the market, can apply for support.

The main projects shall include targeted research, technological developments, business development, and shall form links along the entire chain of processes, from knowledge production to implementation, commercialisation and scaling of green technologies, processes, products and services.

Several main projects from NORCE

Companies and research institutions nationwide have submitted a total 44 project applications. NORCE has submitted seven applications and is also involved in an application submitted by UNITECH. Allocations will be decided at the start of September.

NORCE’s applications for main projects:

  • Mongstad Summit. Subject: Energy and material flows.
  • Grønne mulighetsrom (Green opportunity spaces). Subject: Digitalisation, optimisation, building, material utilisation, recycling.
  • CO2Protein. Subject: Biotechnology/Microbiology Value Chain. Proteins used as feed, emissions, digitalisation, circular economy.
  • WasteNoMore. Subject: Food, bioeconomy, waste to value.
  • GAP. Subject: Aquaculture, feed, emissions, digitalisation, circular economy.
  • Low-emissions chain for offshore aquaculture.
  • HyOpt. (Optimized Safe Hydrogen Powered Maritime Mobility)

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