World’s First Zero-Emission Wind and Hydrogen Power Cargo Ship

zero emmission wind and hydrgen power
Concept design for the zero-emmission bulker (Egil Ulvan Rederi)

Published Mar 26, 2021 7:44 PM by The Maritime Executive

A Norwegian partnership is moving forward with the development of what they are calling the world’s first zero-emission cargo ship. After a six-month competition, with more than 31 ship owners bidding on the project, the contract for the construction has been awarded. The team expected to complete the design this year so that the vessel can enter service by 2024.

The ship concept has the project name “With Orca” - Powered by Nature, as a significant part of the energy required to operate the vessel will be harvested directly from nature through two large rotor sails. The plan calls for the vessel to sail mostly in open waters in the North Sea, where wind conditions are optimal for wind-assisted propulsion. 

The wind energy will be in addition to a hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engine. The design concepts, which will be further developed in 2021, call for the hydrogen to be stored aboard the vessel in compressed form.

The design team, being led by Norwegian Ship Design, is also working to develop additional features for the unique vessel that will increase energy efficiency and are suited to the ship’s concept. They are developing a highly efficient hull and to counter drifting, the vessel will be equipped with a specially developed keel.



The project is a partnership between two Norwegian industrial companies that have agreed to share the vessel’s operations. The vessel will carry aggregates from western to eastern Norway for HeidelbergCement Norway and on the return voyages will transport grain for Felleskjøpet AGRI. The two companies have a 15-year agreement for the operation of the vessel.

The Green Shipping Program, a public-private partnership for the development of environmentally advanced shipping projects, facilitated the competition where Felleskjøpet and HeidelbergCement joined forces for a competition to develop, build and operate a hydrogen-powered zero-emission bulk carrier. A total of 31 shipping companies participated in the competition and the team recently selected Egil Ulvan Rederi, a family-owned shipowner based in Trondheim, Norway, to develop, build and operate a zero-emission cargo ship.

Egil Ulvan Rederi and Norwegian Ship Design are working jointly to present technical solutions with a focus on energy efficiency and reduced fuel costs. They have also been meeting with DNV to develop the designs for the ship. The current designs for the self-loading bulker call for a length of  289 feet with a deadweight of approximately 5,500 tons.

The project is now entering a more detailed development phase where technical solutions will be further developed and optimized. This phase contains several sub-projects that will be developed which the team believes will provide further value to the broader efforts to develop the next generation of shipping. 

During 2021 the ship concept will be fully developed and optimized. The goal is to order the vessel by the end of the year. The ship is expected enter operation in early 2024.