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Hydrogen (bunkering)


Technology Description

Establishing hydrogen bunkering infrastructure is an important step in introducing hydrogen propulsion in ships. However, vessels have not yet been designed, and there isn't currently a bunker vessel standard to work to. The technology systems depend entirely on the method for hydrogen storage (liquid or compressed gas). A vessel that has bunker tanks for liquid hydrogen needs a liquefied hydrogen supply. Compressed gas could be refuelled by a liquid hydrogen bunker vessel equipped with a regasification plant, or if stored as gas in the port, transferred by pressure balancing or compressing the gas into the ship.
The choice of the hydrogen storage method has implications for the technology used to power the vessel. A gas engine is preferred for liquid hydrogen as the excess heat from combustion can be used to evaporate hydrogen. Gaseous hydrogen generally works better with on-board fuel cells, even if it can also be made suitable for gas engines, particularly if co-fired with natural gas.
Cost-effective liquefaction chains for hydrogen are key for bunkering, as liquid hydrogen is expected to offer advantages over pressurised hydrogen gas in relation to transportation costs. In contrast with LNG where the gas is transported into the port, the economics of hydrogen mean that hydrogen liquefaction plants are likely to be located close to port, requiring stronger integration between systems.

Relevance for Net Zero

Hydrogen is expected to play an important role for small- and medium-size ships in the NZE Scenario. Hydrogen bunkering infrastructure is essential to guarantee the operation of hydrogen-fuelled vessels

Key Countries

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