Viasea Receives Grant to Build Two Wind and Hydrogen-Powered Baltic Feeders

hydrogen fueled containership
Viasea plans containerships using wind rotors and hydrogen to be fuel efficient and zero emissions (Viasea)

Published Nov 10, 2023 4:34 PM by The Maritime Executive


Viasea Shipping, a Norwegian shortsea container carrier operating in Northern Europe, provided details on its project to build hydrogen and wind-powered ships. It is one of three projects, along with efforts from Yara and North Sea Container Line and another with Viridis Bulk Carriers, that received grants from the Norwegian government to pursue demonstration ships using alternative power and fuel.

Viasea Shipping plans to build two hydrogen-powered containerships that will also incorporate rotor sails to improve efficiency and reduce emissions. In their application to Enova, they also reported that the ship would use a diesel-electric engine and be outfitted with a battery pack.

They have engaged The Norwegian Ship Design Company to develop the zero-emission ship concept. Viasea reports the design will build on the earlier concept of “With Orca - Powered by Nature” developed by The Norwegian Ship Design Company in collaboration with Egil Ulvan Rederi. That project used similar concepts of hydrogen and wind power and also received grants from Enova.

According to the companies, the new design is for a larger vessel which initially will be able to achieve a 30 percent reduction in fuel and emissions due to the wind rotors and other design features. The size of the ships and the distance of the route however means that one load of hydrogen will not last the entire round trip. Initially, they will fuel with hydrogen in Norway and also use diesel.  

When hydrogen becomes available elsewhere along the route, the ships will be able to operate only with hydrogen. With hydrogen and diesel operation, the ship will have 76 percent lower CO2 emissions than a corresponding diesel-powered ship. With 100 percent hydrogen operation, the ship will operate emission-free.

When completed the ships will be employed on Viasea's existing route between Norway and Northern Europe. In their application to Enova, they set a target of 2026 to start sailing, with the company saying it “aims to take the lead and inspire the maritime industry to invest in emission-free vessels.”

The project is receiving a $15.5 million grant from Enova SF, which is owned by the Ministry of Climate and Environment in Norway. Enova's mission is to contribute to a faster transition to a low-emission society. Through its grants, the organization seeks to realize projects that contribute to Norway fulfilling its climate commitments and transitioning to a low-emission society.

North Sea Container Line, together with Yara Clean Ammonia, was also selected for a grant to build a containership powered by ammonia with a battery pack of 250 kWh and the option of shore power. They are also targeting a 2026 launch. 
Viridis Bulk Carriers also received a grant to acquire two new 4,700 dwt cargo ships fueled with ammonia. This project however is reportedly targeting the end of 2025 to place its ships in operation.

Enova awarded a total of $63 million in a program of grants announced at the end of September for projects to decarbonize shipping.