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Design for Autonomous, Zero-Emission Cross-Channel Vessel Obtains AiP

autonomous zero emission cross-channel vessel
The vessel would transport 200 TEU and operate autonomous and zero emissions (Zulu)

Published Nov 29, 2022 6:04 PM by The Maritime Executive

A project being developed by Belgium-based Zulu Associates and its subsidiary the Anglo Belgian Shipping Company is advancing designs for an uncrewed, zero-emission cross-channel vessel which they believe can develop a radically different logistic chain. Working with Lloyd’s Register, the project obtained Approval in Principle which the companies believe will pave the way for advancement in autonomous and zero-emission shipping.

The Zulu Mass Short Sea Autonomous Zero Emission vessel is designed with a capacity of 200 TEU. It features a 650kW Electrical Propulsion Motor, which can be powered by either a hydrogen, ammonia, or methanol fueled engine and generator, a hydrogen, ammonia, methanol fuel cell, or alternatively via a battery.  Anglo Belgian Shipping Company reported that it was also exploring alternative propulsion and auxiliary power systems such as wind and foils.

The company’s concept is for the 328-foot vessel to operate autonomously as a zero-emissions cargo vessel in the English Channel and the North Sea. LR acknowledges that it would be one of the first of its kind, a short sea vessel, to have these operating capabilities. Similar projects include several vessels already launched in Norway, envision using similar technologies but are designed to carry containers across Norwegian fjords or operate in coastal waters.

“The ZULU Mass design developed by ZULU Associates is a crucial milestone for autonomous shipping in both Europe and across the globe,” said Mike Holliday, UK & Ireland Area Manager, Lloyd’s Register. “LR granted Approval in Principle for this design, which has the potential to use a number of alternative propulsion technologies and helps to underline our credentials as an organization dedicated to driving forward digitalization and decarbonization in the maritime industry.”

Lloyd’s Register granted Approval in Principle (AiP) to Zulu Associates, a company focusing on innovations in the marine component of logistic chains, and its Anglo Belgian Shipping Company, for its novel ZULU Mass vessel design. The Approval in Principle was awarded by LR following a comprehensive and thorough analysis of the design undertaken against the requirements of the relevant industry codes and standards.