EU Grant for Demonstration of Hydrogen Fuel Cell on Product Tanker

hydrogen fuel cell demonstration on product tanker
EK-River or her sister ship will be retrofitted to demonstrate the use of hydrogen fuel cell systems (Ektank)

Published Dec 21, 2022 5:50 PM by The Maritime Executive

The European Union has agreed to provide a €5 million ($5.3 million) grant to a unique project that seeks to be a first mover demonstrating the use of hydrogen to power a product tanker. The aim is to demonstrate the viability of hydrogen as a zero-carbon fuel for the maritime sector and accelerates its adoption by demonstrating the systems on an in-service vessel that will be converted in the coming year.

“I am grateful to the EU who wants to assist us in realizing a retrofit fuel cell project for reducing and eliminating emissions along the European coastlines,” said Tore Enger, Group CEO of TECO 2030 which is leading the project in partnership with Shell International Trading and Shipping Company and Shell International Exploration and Production. Known as the HyEkoTank project, it involves partners Ektank as the owner of the tanker, Blom Maritime, TECO Solutions, Umoe Advanced Composites, FKAB Marine Design, Neste Oyj, and UiT - The Arctic University of Norway.

The HyEkoTank project will retrofit an 18,600 dwt product tanker with a 2.4 MW fuel cell system developed by TECO 2030 and a 4,000 kg compressed hydrogen storage. The project is due to kick off in February 2023 and they expect to start demonstrations with the tanker in 2024. 



Swedish company Ektank previously said the plan was to use either its tanker the Ek-Stream or Ek-River. Both vessels were built in 2018 by Chengxi Shipyard Co. in Jiangyin, China, and operate classed by DNV flying the Norwegian flag. Measuring 505 feet in length, the vessels are each powered by a 5.500 kW MCR main engine. 

Shell will purchase the fuel cell system and provide the renewable hydrogen to power the project. According to the organizers, the tanker will be able to demonstrate zero emission at berth and achieve a great reduction of GHG emissions during its voyages.

“Together we will show the world what fuel cells are capable of when retrofitting a product tanker for Ektank,” said Enger.