Armon Shipyards Launches World's First Hydrogen-Powered Tug

Image courtesy CMB / Port of Antwerp-Bruges

Published May 19, 2022 9:11 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Port of Antwerp-Bruges and CMB are preparing to welcome the world's first hydrogen-powered tugboat, the Hydrotug.

This one-of-a-kind vessel is a midsize harbor tug powered by twin 2,600 horsepower dual fuel medium speed engines, which run on a combination of hydrogen and conventional fuel. The new "BeHydro" engine is a JV between the Saverys family's Company Maritim Belge (CMB) and engine builder Anglo Belgian Corporation (ABC), and it comes in dual-fuel and hydrogen-only variants. According to the consortium, the dual-fuel version reduces CO2 by 85 percent in operation, and it meets IMO Tier III with aftertreatment.

According to Port of Antwerp-Bruges operations manager Rob Smeets, it fits particularly well with the port's vision for its future development: Antwerp-Bruges aims to have green hydrogen available by 2028, and it is investigating the possibility of a hydrogen delivery pipeline between the twin ports and into the European hinterland. 

“We are delighted that Port of Antwerp-Bruges will be the first user of Hydrotug, the world's largest hydrogen-powered vessel. The technology has been approved by Lloyd's Register and we are ready to approach the global market of 10.000 tugs," said CTO of CMB.TECH Roy Campe. "With this technology we can significantly improve the air quality in ports and bring hydrogen technology to every port worldwide.”

The Hydrotug was launched at Armón Shipyards in Navia, Spain on Monday. Sea trials are scheduled for later this year, and the goal is to have the new tug fully operational in the first quarter of 2023.