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Tuesday, December 17, 2019 

A project initiated by Wilhelmsen and NorSea, togther with major industry players including Equinor, Viking Cruises and Air Liquide has secured the equivalent of US$3.7m in funds to develop an environmentally friendly liquid hydrogen supply chain, enabling the fuel to be offered to commercial shipping in large scale supply within the first quarter of 2024.

The initiative aligns with Wilhelmsen’s long-term strategy supporting the UN sustainable development goals. The grant of NOK 33.5m comes from the governmental PILOT-E scheme, whose objective is to promote rapid development and deployment of new, environment-friendly technology products and services.

Liquid hydrogen is considered as one of the optimal zero-emission fuels for ships with high energy demands. It has already been selected for Norway’s first hydrogen ferry, which will be in operation for Norled on the Hjelmeland connection starting in 2021. The consortium’s goal is to kick-start the local market with liquid hydrogen-based on electrolysis.

Furthermore, Wilhelmsen and NorSea Group will develop a new and flexible liquid hydrogen distribution concept, including zero-emission ships for transport plus terminals at the NorSea supply bases for storage and bunkering. Norled, Wilhelmsen and Viking Ocean Cruises are participating in the project as hydrogen users on their vessels. The hydrogen terminals will also enable supply to other types of end-users such as buses and heavy-duty transport.

Steinar Eikaas, VP Low carbon solutions, Equinor, said: “This value chain would be a first of its kind in the world, and would be an important step in developing clean fuels for the maritime sector. Equinor is happy to be part of this strong consortium, and to be working with the very innovative and forward-looking Norwegian maritime ecosystem which includes public and private actors.”

Trond Moengen, Director of PILOT-E said: "We are happy to support an ambitious and innovative project that will be of great importance for the development towards zero-emission shipping, both in Norway and internationally. Hydrogen is one of the solutions we have great expectations for, and this project will contribute to promoting Norway’s leading position within the development of green maritime solutions.”

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