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SEA-KIT wins ZEVI funding for hydrogen uncrewed surface vessel and refilling station 

Port of London Authority, a consortium partner, will host the hydrogen refilling station on the River Thames in London and subsequently operate the ZEPHR USV.




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British maritime technology firm SEA-KIT International recently said it has won funding from the Zero Emissions Vessels and Infrastructure (ZEVI) competition to design and manufacture a hydrogen-fuelled uncrewed surface vessel (USV). 

The company will partner with maritime decarbonisation disruptor, Marine2o, for the build of land-based infrastructure to produce green hydrogen, via renewable energy and the electrolysis of water, as part of the project.

Dubbed ZEPHR - Zero Emissions Ports Hydrogen Refilling Survey Vessel, the project aims to extend vessel operation for port operators and stakeholders through complete energy transferal, from readily accessible green electricity to 100% green hydrogen production, compression, storage and dispensing.

Engineering design and sustainability specialists, Marine Zero, will support Marine2o with regulatory compliance and the design and integration of the dispensing facility. The Port of London Authority (PLA), a consortium partner, will host the hydrogen refilling station on the River Thames in London and subsequently operate the ZEPHR USV. 

John Dillon-Leetch, PLA’s port hydrographer, said: "Our support of this exciting project underlines our commitment to creating a Net Zero future on the tidal Thames. Embracing innovation and new fuel technologies utilised on ZEPHR will enable us to be more sustainable and efficient in the production of the essential hydrographic data and products that we provide to all mariners on the Thames. 

“The five-year project will also support environmental monitoring, academic and industry research programs as well as feeding into the Maritime Hydrogen Highway programme - all key elements of the Thames Vision 2050, supporting the PLA, our partners and stakeholders to deliver on their sustainability goals.”

The Thames is Britain's busiest inland waterway, handling over five million tonnes of goods and materials and millions of passenger journeys each year. The Thames Estuary is therefore well placed to support the development of a hydrogen ecosystem, with significant potential usage demand across several sectors, including ports, marine and river transportation, airports and aviation, construction, distribution and logistics.

As custodians of the UK’s largest port, the PLA has set out ambitious emissions reduction targets and is actively undertaking a range of actions to realise these, including the implementation of new technologies. The ZEPHR USV, with its zero-emission operations capability, will support the PLA in achieving its aims. 

SEA-KIT’s remotely operated USVs, many of which are operational on offshore projects around the world, improve safety by having crew located onshore in Remote Operations Centres. Their smaller size also leads to significant cost savings compared to larger, conventional survey vessels. 

The configurable ZEPHR USV platform will have a high resolution multibeam echosounder as its primary payload, with the capability to mount additional sensors such as LiDAR, cameras and environmental monitoring and sampling equipment. The vessel will also be able to launch and recover aerial drones for surveying, surveillance, search and rescue. ZEPHR will use two hydrogen fuel cell systems for redundancy. 

The vessel’s design will be reviewed with Lloyd’s Register and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to satisfy regulatory and compliance requirements and to obtain approvals for continuous operations. ZEPHR will be built at SEA-KIT’s recently expanded production facility in Tollesbury, Essex in the UK.

Photo credit: SEA-KIT International
Published: 18 September, 2023

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Alternative Fuels

Singapore-Rotterdam Green and Digital Shipping Corridor partners to implement first-mover pilot projects

Partners will carry out projects and testing out commercial structures to accelerate uptake of zero and near-zero emission bunker fuels, such as synthetic and bio-variants of methanol and ammonia.





Singapore-Rotterdam Green and Digital Shipping Corridor partners to implement first-mover pilot projects

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and Port of Rotterdam Authority (PoR) on Monday (15 April) said the Singapore-Rotterdam Green and Digital Shipping Corridor (GDSC) has commenced the implementation phase and aims to enhance operational efficiencies and lower barriers for first movers to ensure availability, acceptability and affordability of alternative marine fuels. 

The corridor will accelerate transformation efforts for maritime decarbonisation and digitalisation.

The GDSC partners will convene for the inaugural GDSC Symposium as part of Singapore Maritime Week 2024. The partners include MPA, PoR, PSA International, A.P. Moller Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC, Ocean Network Express, BP, Shell and Methanol Institute. 

The Singapore-Rotterdam GDSC was established by MPA and PoR in August 2022 to accelerate transformation efforts for maritime decarbonisation and digitalisation.

To-date, the GDSC initiative has brought together 26 global value-chain partners across shipping lines, fuel suppliers, port authorities and operator, industry coalitions, banks, leading institutes of higher learning and knowledge partners.

Hapag-Lloyd, the world’s fifth largest liner shipping company operating more than 260 ocean going vessels, is the latest addition to the corridor. Hapag-Lloyd joins four other leading global container shipping lines which have committed to deploying large container vessels running on zero-and near-zero emission fuels along the high-volume Asia-Europe trade lane.

Other new corridor partners include A*STAR Centre for Maritime Digitalisation (A*STAR’s C4MD), led by A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing (A*STAR IHPC). A*STAR’s C4MD aims to develop advanced computational modelling, simulation and artificial intelligence solutions for a safe, efficient and sustainable maritime ecosystem. 

Encouraging the uptake of zero and near-zero emission fuels

The GDSC partners will be implementing several first-mover pilot projects and testing out commercial structures to accelerate the uptake of zero and near-zero emission fuels, such as synthetic and bio-variants of methanol, ammonia, methane, and hydrogen. This implementation follows earlier modelling studies undertaken by the Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller Centre for Zero Carbon-Shipping and the Centre for Maritime Studies of the National University of Singapore to explore multiple alternative fuels pathways and their viability as sustainable marine fuel.

Bio-methane Working Group

The bio-methane working group, led by SEA-LNG has examined relevant regulations and certification standards such as the ISCC EU certification to support the adoption of bio-methane for marine bunkering at a commercial scale. The GDSC partners plan to carry out Bio-LNG bunkering pilots over 2024 and 2025. These pilots would be based on mass balancing chain of custody principle that involves physical blending of certified bio-methane with non-certified conventional LNG across shared transport, storage and distribution infrastructure such as pipelines.

Methanol Working Group

Following the conduct of the Port of Rotterdam’s green methanol terminal bunkering operation on the world’s first methanol-fuelled container ship, and the world’s first ship-to-containership methanol bunkering at the Port of Singapore, the methanol working group, led by PoR, has worked on a clear starting point for fuel standards and knowledge exchange on chain of custody principles. The Working Group will also be addressing common challenges such as acceptability, availability, and affordability to carry out commercial methanol bunkering at both Ports of Singapore and Rotterdam.

Ammonia Working Group

The ammonia working group, jointly led by MPA, the Nanyang Technological University Maritime Energy and Sustainable Development Centre of Excellence, and the A*STAR’s C4MD will be developing a framework to assess the lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity of green ammonia for bunkering, and a decision-making tool for value-chain partners to optimise their green ammonia supply chain network. This study, to be completed by 2025, will support ongoing efforts by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to develop the Life Cycle GHG Assessment (LCA) framework and guidelines for alternative marine fuels.

Hydrogen Working Group

With Shell’s contribution, the hydrogen working group has been assessing the technical and economic feasibility of hydrogen as a marine fuel for ocean-going container vessels. Going beyond desktop-based studies, the working group aims to develop novel ship designs allowing the GDSC partners to understand the cost differential and how to practically overcome the challenges, whilst maximising the opportunities that hydrogen as a sustainable marine fuel offers.

Commercial Structures Working Group to reduce cost barriers to zero and near-zero emissions fuels

To support these fuel-based initiatives and drive commercial scalability, a working group led by PoR and the Global Maritime Forum (GMF), supported by the GDSC partners, is developing and testing commercial structures to reduce the cost barriers of using zero and near-zero emission fuels. The working group is currently exploring various demand and supply aggregation mechanisms and public and private financial levers that have the potential to collectively bring down the green premium and help bridge the cost gap.

Adoption of digital solutions for efficient and secure ship-shore data exchange and GHG emissions monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV)

On the digital front, Singapore and Rotterdam have successfully trialled the exchange of port-to-port data and are now able to exchange vessel arrival and departure times to facilitate port planning and for ships to optimise their port call voyage between Singapore and Rotterdam. Following this successful trial, Singapore and Rotterdam have jointly issued a call-for-proposal (CFP) for standards-based solutions that enable efficient and secure data exchange between ship and shore.

Related: MPA and Port of Rotterdam sign MoU to form world’s longest Green and Digital Corridor
Related: Partners in Rotterdam-Singapore Green & Digital Shipping Corridor support emission reductions
Related: New progress report highlights Rotterdam-Singapore Green & Digital Shipping Corridor
Related: MPA and Port of Rotterdam sign MoU to form world’s longest Green and Digital Corridor


Photo credit: Scott Graham on Unsplash
Published: 15 April 2024

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Alternative Fuels

Ponant and Farwind Energy team up to develop green hydrogen bunkering solutions

Farwind Energy’s hydrogen production technology has the advantage of offering hydrogen refuelling solutions in places where there are no means of production and supply, says Mathieu Petiteau of Ponant.





Ponant and Farwind Energy Partner to develop green hydrogen bunkering solutions

Cruise ship operator Ponant and Nantes-based startup Farwind Energy recently announced their collaboration to study innovative solutions for bunkering ships with renewable green hydrogen.

The firms have outlined a roadmap to promote the production and utilisation of green hydrogen. Their plan involves sharing advancements in the management of hydrogen onboard ships and collaborating to develop initial use cases while overcoming potential technological challenges.

The two partners have set themselves a goal to be in a position to commission Ponant’s Swap2Zero project and the first energy ship at the same time by 2030. 

Swap2Zero is the first concept of a transoceanic vessel aiming to approach carbon neutrality, whether sailing, manoeuvring, in port or at anchor. Wind power is at the heart of the project and low-temperature fuel cells operating on liquid hydrogen for propulsion are also being studied.

Front view of the Farwind energy ship with rotor sails

Front view of the Farwind Energy ship with rotor sails

Mathieu Petiteau, Newbuilding and R&D Director at Ponant, said: “Farwind Energy’s hydrogen production technology has the advantage of offering hydrogen refuelling solutions in places where there are no means of production and supply.”

“This collaboration is an opportunity to jointly develop a major project that associates a ship with her own source of renewable energy produced locally. It is an unprecedented revolutionary approach that makes total sense.” 

“The Swap2Zero programme is the ideal demonstrator to scale up this solution and set new standards. This technological building block will be integrated into our other areas of R&D to support our decarbonisation strategy.”

Arnaud Poitou, Chairman of Farwind Energy, said: “We are proud to share our roadmap with Ponant, an innovative company committed to low carbon navigation. This collaboration opens up new perspectives for our highly innovative renewable energy production technology.”

“Capable of being produced near the ship’s operating areas, our liquid hydrogen represents a promising solution to decarbonise maritime transport.”


Photo credit: Ponant / Farwind Energy
Published: 2 April, 2024

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Bunker Fuel

MTF releases revised framework to include more bunker fuel types

Updated Framework and extended heatmap report from MTF deliver a comprehensive view
on current bunker fuel options and updates criteria to compare them.





MTF releases revised framework to include more bunker fuel types

The Maritime Technologies Forum (MTF) on Tuesday (12 March) released an updated Framework for Assessing Decarbonization Technologies and Alternative Energy Carriers and a comprehensive assessment on the maturity and readiness of alternative bunker fuel options, expanding the number of evaluated fuels covered since the previous heatmap report issued in November 2022.

The assessment applied MTF’s recently updated framework to an expanded set of eight marine fuels, including fossil LNG, fossil MGO combined with carbon capture and storage (CCS), liquefied bio-methane, bio-methanol, green synthetic methanol, green ammonia and liquefied blue hydrogen, comparing each to the current baseline fuel, fossil MGO.

Christopher J. Wiernicki, ABS Chairman and CEO, said: “We are pleased to deliver this updated framework and heatmap report which builds on our previous work by expanding the number of evaluated fuels and explores the critical boundary conditions for each. Understanding the level of readiness, including availability and scalability, of a variety of alternative fuel options is an important step to helping industry prioritise and safely deliver the next generation of fuels and enabling technologies,” said

Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, DNV- Maritime CEO, said: “By evaluating a wide variety of emerging fuels through MTF’s newly revised framework, we were able to get a more comprehensive view and gain a better comparison of how all of the fuels stack up against each other. This evaluation provides a critical roadmap for industry’s adoption of alternative fuels, supporting a safer and more sustainable maritime industry.”

The MTF framework, led by DNV, covers eight categories of evaluation, greenhouse gas emission intensity, technology readiness and acceptance, sustainability and environmental aspects, safety, economic viability, regulatory maturity, skills availability and engineering.

The framework criteria work as a checklist, ensuring a systematic and standardised evaluation of technologies and energy carriers.

In addition to assessing the feasibility of each fuel based on the relevant criteria, the evaluation also takes into consideration the level of confidence in the assessment. Results of the assessment are presented in the form of heatmaps, aiding the identification of hot spots that are areas requiring more attention or prioritisation to help industry meet ambitious net-zero emission goals.

Work on the heatmap report, led by ABS, concluded with five key observations:

  • Well-to-Wake GHG emission performance is critical in the long term: The use of biofuels and hydrogen-based solutions will provide lower lifecycle emissions (potentially zero or near zero when using sustainable energy sources).
  • Safety needs careful management for some hydrogen-based synthetic fuels: There is a moderate amount of data available for using ammonia and hydrogen as fuel. Most of this data is from other industries, or the carriage of fuel on liquified gas carriers. Additional research and studies are needed to further reduce or fully mitigate the associated risks addressing bunkering and onboard handling for these alternative solutions as fuels.
  • The need for additional training related to handling of more hazardous alternative fuels is reconfirmed: Training, safety awareness and management practices need to develop to similar levels seen onshore for these hazardous fuels.
  • Technology for many fuel options is available with high maturity: In terms of technology readiness, all solutions considered as demonstrated, or proven, in a relevant environment (TRL 6 or above). Use of ammonia and CCS still needs to be proven to reach a sufficient TRL for commercial uptake. Retrofits are generally possible with varying engineering complexity.
  • Supply chain resilience is not known for biofuels and hydrogen-based synthetic fuels: Supply chain resilience has been evaluated as low on confidence for all the biofuels and hydrogen-based fuels considered, and currently as not feasible for green ammonia. This accounts for the current limited fuel availability.

Note: A copy of the updated framework can be viewed here and the extended heatmap report can be found here.


Photo credit: Maritime Technologies Forum
Published: 15 March 2024

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