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ABB's Power, Propulsion, and Automation for Samskip's Hydrogen-powered Container Ships

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

September 21, 2023

Image credit: Naval Dynamics

Image credit: Naval Dynamics

ABB has won a contract to deliver a power, propulsion, and automation system for two new-built short-sea container ships for Rotterdam-based global logistics company Samskip Group.

According to ABB, the vessels will be among the world’s first of their kind to use hydrogen as a fuel. Financial details of the contract were not disclosed. 

Built by India-based Cochin Shipyard, the 135-meter ships are due for delivery in Q3 and Q4 of 2025, respectively. 

Both vessels will be operating between Oslo Fjord and Rotterdam, a distance of approximately 700 nautical miles. In addition to the integration of hydrogen fuel cells, ABB’s comprehensive package includes the new, compact version of ABB Onboard DC Grid power distribution system that will ensure the optimal use of energy on board. 

The vessels will also feature ABB’s energy storage solution control, with automation technology, ABB Ability System 800xA, ensuring seamless operation of onboard equipment. 

Leveraging ABB Ability Remote Diagnostic Systems, the vessels will benefit from optimized safety and performance through 24/7 remote support, ABB said.

"Fuel cells turn the chemical energy from hydrogen into electricity through an electrochemical reaction. With the use of renewables to produce the hydrogen, the entire energy chain will be clean. Hydrogen fuel cell technology is considered as one of the most promising solutions to support shipping industry’s decarbonization agenda, with the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency," ABB said.

Samskip’s vessels will be powered by a 3.2 MW hydrogen fuel cell each, with diesel generators installed for backup. 

The logistics group, which aims to achieve net zero by 2040, anticipates that each vessel will be able to avoid around 25,000 tons of CO2 emissions a year when powered by fuel cells and by using green shore power at the port of call. 

While the ships are setting new standards for environmentally friendly operations, they are expected to perform at the same level as Samskip’s conventional vessels, ABB said in a press release.

The project is said to be in line with the International Maritime Organization’s revised greenhouse gas reduction strategy, which calls on reaching net-zero GHG emissions from international shipping close to 2050, with a commitment to increase the uptake of low-carbon fuels by 2030. 

The project is co-funded by the Norwegian state enterprise ENOVA. Operating under Norway’s Ministry of Climate and Environment, ENOVA promotes a shift towards more environmentally friendly energy consumption and production, as well as the development of energy and climate technology.

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