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Berlin’s Mayor Franziska Giffey christens world’s first emission-free pusher boat “ELEKTRA”

“ELEKTRA” is the first pusher boat worldwide where a battery-electric drive will be combined with hydrogen and fuel cell technology, says Federal Minister Dr. Volker Wissing.




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NOW GmbH (National Organisation Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology) on Monday (16 May) said Mayor Franziska Giffey christened the ELEKTRA - the world’s first pusher boat where a battery-electric drive will be combined with hydrogen and fuel cell technology - in Berlin’s Westhafen. 

After almost two years of construction at the Hermann Barthel GmbH shipyard in Derben and transfer to the Westhafen in Berlin, the long-term testing of the emission-free pusher boat can finally begin, it said.

Petra Cardinal, Managing Director of BEHALA – Berliner Hafen- und Lagerhausgesellschaft mbH, welcomed the approximately 250 guests who had gathered at Harbour Basin II to commemorate the occasion.

They included many representatives from politics and public authorities as well as project partners and suppliers, the project executing organisation and the project coordinator, the port industry and various associations, press and members of the supervisory board and staff.

In his opening remarks, Federal Minister Dr. Volker Wissing talked about the significance of hydrogen mobility for achieving the climate protection goals of the federal government. 

“The ELEKTRA is a lighthouse project: It is the first pusher boat worldwide where a battery-electric drive will be combined with hydrogen and fuel cell technology. The entire project is a blueprint for climate- and environmentally-friendly inland shipping and is a true pioneering achievement not just technically, but also in terms of regulation,” he said. 

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerd Holbach, overall project manager from the Technical University Berlin, briefly explained the overall project, the concept and the construction design for the innovative pusher boat.

Mayor of Berlin, Franziska Giffey, uttered the phrase: “I hereby christen you ELEKTRA, wish the crew a safe journey and always a hand’s breadth of water under your keel” and christened the ship. 

She added: “The world’s first emission-free pusher boat is the impressive result of the collaboration of those in shipbuilding as well as energy and propulsion technology.”

“I am particularly pleased that much of the Berlin inventor spirit has been incorporated into the development and construction of ELEKTRA.”

“This lighthouse project is an ideal showcase for how innovative ideas can succeed in improving the climate over the long-term on our waterways. Berlin wants to be a pioneer in this area.”

Dr. Corinna Barthel from the Barthel shipyard congratulated the godmother with a bouquet and spoke about the special features of the construction of the ELEKTRA.

The Managing Director (Chair) of NOW GmbH, Kurt-Christoph von Knobelsdorff added: “The ELEKTRA is already a role model for more new ship builds and for that alone, is already a huge success story for the funding strategy of the BMDV.”

“Considering their service lives of 50 years and beyond, the transition to climate-friendly propulsion systems in shipping must now be accelerated.”

The companies BEHALA – Berliner Hafen- und Lagerhausgesellschaft (logistics), the Hermann Barthel shipyard, BALLARD Power Systems (fuel cells), Argo-Anleg (hydrogen system), SER Schiffselektronik Rostock (electric energy system), EST-Floattech (battery system) and HGK Shipping (nautical operation) participated as partners in the development, construction and testing of the ELEKTRA.

As the first zero-emission ship, the ELEKTRA will serve as a role model, because this energy system is conceived in such a way as to make it transferable to many types of inland waterway and coastal ships.

It is not only energy provision for the ship’s propulsion and the pushing of the pusher units that is needed, but also power for the crew, who live, cook and wash on board. 

Furthermore, energy must be provided for temperature control of the rooms and the wheelhouse. The batteries also need a certain ‘comfort temperature’ for efficient operation and a long service life. This must all function with limited carried energy and without losing range.

With 750 kg of usable gaseous hydrogen at 500 bars on board and a battery capacity of approx. 2,500 kilowatt hours, the ship has a range of approx. 400 kilometres in a pushed convoy with the loaded heavy freight lighter, URSUS. 

Therefore, along the shipping routes of Berlin towards Rhine/Ruhr, Hamburg and Stettin, there will only be one additional shore station required to provide ELEKTRA with hydrogen and electricity aside from Westhafen. In all, convoys of up to 150m long can be driven.

Initially, testing will for the most part, take place in the capital region. From 2023, testing will then increasingly be conducted in long-distance transport in the direction of Hamburg.

With a total project volume of approx. EUR 14.6 million (USD 15.43 million), the project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) in the amount of approx. EUR 9.1 million and supervised and coordinated by Project Management Jülich (PtJ) and the National Organisation Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW).


Photo credit: NOW GmbH
Published: 20 May, 2022


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LNG Bunkering

Titan completes first STS LNG bunkering operation in Cuxhaven

Port of Cuxhaven in Germany had previously only seen LNG operations conducted via truck and currently only permits LNG bunkering at one berth, says Titan.





Titan completes first STS LNG bunkering operation in Cuxhaven

LNG bunker fuel supplier Titan on Thursday (11 July) said it completed the first-ever LNG bunkering operation by ship in the port of Cuxhaven.

Titan’s bunker vessel Optimus successfully delivered LNG to dredger Vox Ariane operated by its long-term client Van Oord. 

“Our ship-to-ship bunkering in Cuxhaven represents a pioneering step in the region's LNG infrastructure development, as the port had previously only seen LNG operations conducted via truck and currently only permits LNG bunkering at one berth,” it said in a social media post. 

“LNG infrastructure development is part of a broader trend, with more ports across Germany adopting LNG operations to support shipping’s clean fuels transition.”

Titan added the improved LNG bunkering capabilities in Cuxhaven, a Niedersachsen Ports GmbH & Co. KG port, also opened up the pathway to maritime decarbonisation via liquified biomethane (LBM) and then renewable e-methane going forward.


Photo credit: Titan
Published: 12 July, 2024

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LNG Bunkering

UECC “Auto Achieve” receives first LNG bunker fuel delivery by barge in home country

Firm said it received the first ever supply of LNG by barge to their multi-fuel LNG battery hybrid car carrier in the Port of Drammen, Norway.





UECC “Auto Achieve” receives first LNG bunker fuel delivery by barge in home country

Norwegian roll-on/roll-off shipping line United European Car Carriers (UECC) on Wednesday (10 July) said it received the first ever supply of LNG by barge to their multi-fuel LNG battery hybrid car carrier Auto Achieve in the Port of Drammen on 4 July.

The firm said this was the first time UECC received LNG by barge to any of their vessels in their home country Norway. 

“We also believe that it was the first time LNG was delivered by barge to any vessel in Drammen, and most likely the entire Oslofjord,” UECC said in a social media post.

The LNG was supplied by the Molgas Energy Holding vessel Pioneer Knutsen, owned by Knutsen Group OAS.

“UECC is very pleased to see the expansion of the LNG barge network in Norway,” it said. 


Photo credit: UECC
Published: 12 July, 2024

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OceanScore reveals ship segments set to feel EUR 1.3 billion sting of FuelEU penalties

Container segment will bear the brunt of FuelEU costs, accounting for 29% of gross penalties, followed by RoPax on 14% with tankers and bulkers each on 13%, says firm.





OceanScore Managing Director Albrecht Grell

Hamburg-based technology platform OceanScore on Tuesday (9 July) said the financial impact of FuelEU Maritime is focusing the minds of shipping companies as they face potential penalties for non-compliance with greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity reduction targets - and OceanScore has identified those segments set to be hit hardest.

The following is an article by OceanScore elaborating on the matter:

Vessels in the passenger/cruise, container, RoPax, bulker and tanker segments will have significant cost exposure from the complex regulation due to be implemented from 1 January next year, despite a relatively modest initial target of a 2% cut in GHG intensity, according to OceanScore.

The firm’s data analytics team has calculated that shipping will rack up total FuelEU penalties of €1.345 billion in 2025 through analysis of the 13,000 vessels over 5000gt trading within and into the EU/EEA that are subject to the regulation. This is based on data on trading patterns and fuel mix from 2022 - the last full year currently available.

Containers bear burden

The team has been able to determine FuelEU compliance balances and resulting penalties for each vessel using OceanScore’s proprietary data modelling incorporating AIS data, Thetis emissions data, bunker intelligence and advanced analytics/AI. It has factored in the likely fuel mix for each vessel between EU ports and to/from the EU, as well as in ports.

Vessels will be hit with a penalty of €2400 per tonne of VLSFO-equivalent for failing to meet the initial 2% reduction target relative to a 2020 baseline for average well-to-wake GHG intensity from fleet energy consumption of 91.16 gCO2e per megajoule (MJ) - or emissions per energy unit. The GHG intensity requirement applies to 100% of energy used on voyages and port calls within the EU/EEA and 50% of voyages into and out of the bloc.

As with the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), it is the container segment that will bear the brunt of FuelEU costs, accounting for 29% of gross penalties, followed by RoPax on 14% with tankers and bulkers each on 13%.

“It is critical for shipping companies to determine a baseline for expected FuelEU costs to secure proper planning and budgeting processes to compare different mitigation options, as well as to decide what to do with outstanding compliance balances,” says OceanScore Managing Director Albrecht Grell.

“This will require, to a higher degree than the EU ETS, a corporate strategy to determine how to reduce the compliance balance/deficit, how to commercialise a surplus and deal with deficits that remain.”

Wide spread of vessel liabilities

OceanScore has found that liabilities per vessel will differ widely across the various segments due to increasingly diversified fuel choices, including greater uptake of biofuels and LNG. Passenger vessels will be penalised the most with an average of €520,000 per vessel annually, followed by RoPax at €480,000 and RoRo at €314,000, with an average penalty for container ships of only €214,000, according to OceanScore.

Grell points out there are also massive discrepancies between vessels within these segments, with a number of ships in the passenger and RoPax segments exposed to penalties of between €1.8m and €2.5m, and payment obligations for some container ships approaching €1m. This is driven by higher energy consumption simply due to vessel size and trading profile.

While penalties will arise from so-called compliance deficits for vessels using conventional fuels, surpluses totalling an estimated €669m will be generated mainly by vessels fuelled by LNG and LPG with significantly lower carbon intensity.

LNG carriers will account for 78% of the total market surplus and gas carriers 8%, while a further 8% will be generated by container ships that have seen a modest uptake in alternative fuels in recent years.

Pooling can halve costs for the industry

Taking into account this estimated compliance surplus, the net cost of FuelEU penalties for shipping from 2025 would be €680m, which indicates that pooling of vessels can roughly halve the gross burden for the industry.

Penalties will, in segments typically using conventional fuels with comparable carbon intensities such as HFO, LFO or MDO, be roughly proportional to the overall fuel consumption, thus correlating with the EU ETS cost.

Initial costs of FuelEU for most conventionally fuelled vessels, prior to pooling, will be around one-third of those associated with the EU ETS next year when the latter regulation will have 70% phase-in. But ultimately FuelEU is likely to prove a much more costly affair as the requirement for GHG intensity cuts rises to 6% by 2030 and then accelerates to reach 80% by 2050.

“It is therefore incumbent on shipowners to define their strategies not only towards fuel choices and the use of onshore power but also towards handling of residual compliance balances such as pooling, banking and borrowing of balances, to mitigate the financial impact of FuelEU. However, pooling will also come at a cost, while banking and borrowing will incur interest costs and only push liabilities into the future,” Grell explains.

‘Sound administrative processes’

He further points out that pooling compensations paid between different shipping companies will effectively divert cash flow away from the EU that it would otherwise have earned from FuelEU penalties – but that this effect is intended by the regulator to “reward” early adopters of clean fuels.

Another factor that will curb potential income for the EU from this regulation is that the compliance gap has been reduced to only 1.6% by 2022, as average GHG intensity from shipping has come down by 0.4% to 90.82 gCO2e per MJ, mainly due to increased LNG carrier calls to Europe after gas supplies via pipelines from Russia were halted when the latter invaded Ukraine. Given this trend and increasing adoption of biofuels, the 2% compliance gap will probably be closed before the first tightening of reduction targets in 2030.

Grell says the priority for shipping companies, especially at this early stage while cost exposure is relatively low, is to get to grips with the complexity of the regulation and tackle the risks arising from the fact the party liable for penalties - the DoC holder, or possibly shipowner - is not the one responsible for emissions, which is typically the charterer.

“As well as having costs oversight, companies require reliable monitoring and reporting mechanisms with high-quality emissions data. They must also have in place complex contractual arrangements and sound administrative processes to manage compliance and mitigate the financial consequences of the new regulation,” Grell concludes.

Related: FuelEU: New regulation leaves DoC holder with fuel liabilities risk, says OceanScore
Related: ‘Big opportunity’ for bunker traders, suppliers on upcoming FuelEU regulation, forecasts OceanScore


Photo credit: OceanScore
Published: 12 July, 2024

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