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Wednesday, April 7, 2021 

Danish shipping company MHO-Co is heading a consortium that will spend 4.5m during the next three years on developing green solutions for the future of the maritime industry, testing fuels cells and new battery technology in conjunction with Aalborg University, among other organisations, to test fuel cells and new battery technology.

The Danish company is the initiator of the consortium which, apart from the companies Sterling PlanB Energy Solutions, Danfoss, Ballard Power Systems Europe and Stuart Friezer Marine, consists of research engineers from Aalborg University. They have joined forces on the project which has attacted €2.15m in grants from the Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program (EUDP).   

MHO-Co CEO Mik Henriksen said: “The aim is to develop environmentally-friendly technology to replace fossil fuels and dominate the maritime industry in the future. With the EUDP grants as well as with knowledge and innovation from other participants, we will set new standards for what is possible in the maritime industry.”

The six partners have an ambitious plan to develop and test a propulsion system for maritime transport that does not emit CO2. During this period, MHO-Co will test both fuel cells and liquid cooling system batteries. Ballard Power Systems Europe will develop the first fuel cells for shipping.

Kristina Fløche Juelsgaard, director, Ballard Power Systems Europe said: “Based on our experience with fuel cells for heavy transport, we are now focusing on how fuel cells and hydrogen can also become the green solution of the future in the maritime sector. This project is groundbreaking because together we can test the different options and find a sustainable solution, which can be approved by the authorities and live up to the current requirements for new technologies.”

Another pillar of the project is the use of energy storage systems for maritime use. This is where Sterling PlanB contributes to the project.

“Sterling PlanB has long prided itself on engineering the safest and most robust energy storage systems available on the market, in support of emissions reductions,” said Brent Perry, CEO Sterling PlanB. “Our battery technology is engineered to be the most robust lithium battery possible, for a cost-effective, sustainable solution. We’re very proud to be a part of this project and partnering with like-minded experts in the industry to support shipping’s decarbonisation challenges.”

The next generation of MHO-Co’s vessels are custom designed to service the wind turbine and offshore industries, and the shipping company specialises in transporting technicians to and from large wind farms. Currently, the shipping company is building the first Crew Transfer Vessels with hybrid propulsion, and these two vessels will be the focal point of the project.

“Our two new vessels are built as floating test platforms. They are designed to be adapted to the environmentally-friendly energy systems of the future – simply by replacing engine and propulsion packages. And since the vessels are catamarans, we have four platforms providing even better conditions for testing and comparing different sustainable solutions," said Henriksen.

The two new vessels are being built in China and are scheduled to be put into operation in Europe before summer 2021.

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