Hydrogen-Powered CTV Deploys in Germany as CMB.TECH Enhances Power System

hydrogen-fueled CTV
Hydrocat 55 deploys as Germany's first hydrogen-powered CTV and looks to enhance the power technology (FRS Windcat)

Published Jan 9, 2024 7:09 PM by The Maritime Executive

Belgium’s Saverys family continues its efforts to lead the shipping industry into the future announcing that the technology from its company CMB.TECH was used to deploy Germany’s first hydrogen-powered dual-fuel crew transfer vessel. The ship expands on their first hydrogen application for a crew transfer vessel in Belgium in 2022 and will be the first of a fleet of six vessels under construction.

The new Hydrocat 55 was initially delivered in the spring of 2023 outfitted with a dual-fuel engine manufactured by MAN. It has been retrofitted by CMB.TECH with a hydrogen injection system. The company points out that no fundamental changes were required to the vessel’s main engine. The CTV can continue to use traditional fuel when hydrogen is not available or as a backup system.

The hydrogen system is supplied with 27 cylinders. The vessel has a total capacity of 207 kg of hydrogen. CMB.TECH previously explained the way its injection system works is mixing hydrogen and air which is then ignited in a mix with a small amount of diesel fuel in the combustion chamber of the cylinders. Depending on the engine's operating point, the company says only a very small amount of diesel fuel is needed.


Testing begins this month in a year-long trial that continues to improve the hydrogen-power technology (50Hertz/M. Vogel photo)


The new vessel uses the same design as the earlier Hydrocat 48 introduced in 2022 as the world’s first hydrogen dual-fuel CTV. The new vessel is 82 feet (25 meters) in length with a capacity to transport 24 passengers while operating with a crew of two to three.

The vessel was built for FRS Windcat Offshore Logistics, a partnership between FRS a Germany shipping company that operates high-speed catamarans and Windcat which is a leader in crew transfer services.  CMB.TECH is an investor in FRS Windcat. The new vessel is part of a fleet of six ships currently operating in the German and Danish North Sea and Baltic under the German flag to support the offshore operations. The vessel will be operated for 50Hertz, a transmission system operator responsible for connecting the grid to the wind farms in the German sector of the Baltic.

The companies report that five more CTVs of this type are under construction. At the same time work is proceeding to further optimize the ship’s technology and further reduce CO2 emissions. Trials for the Hydrocat 55 are beginning this month and it will operate for a year with regular use of green hydrogen.