ABB has secured a contract to supply propulsion solutions for two hydrogen-powered container ships. These vessels, commissioned by logistics group Samskip, represent a step towards cleaner and more sustainable shipping options.
Each of these two short-haul container ships will be equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell boasting an impressive output of 3.2 megawatts. To ensure redundancy and reliability, diesel generators will also be onboard as backup power sources.
Beyond the integration of hydrogen fuel cells, ABB will provide a compact version of its Onboard DC Grid power distribution system. This technology aims to maximise energy efficiency on board these ships, contributing to their eco-friendly operation. The deal encompasses ABB's digital operating system for energy storage, complemented by automation technology, as well as the ABB Ability System 800xA for managing onboard equipment. Although the order was booked in the second quarter, it has only recently been announced.
These two vessels, measuring 135 metres in length, are slated for construction at India's Cochin Shipyard. The delivery timeline sets them to be completed in the third and fourth quarter of 2025, respectively. These ships are destined to operate between the Oslofjord and Rotterdam, covering a distance of approximately 700 nautical miles.
Samskip is aligning with ambitious environmental goals, aiming to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040. The company foresees a substantial reduction of around 25,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually for each of these fuel cell-powered ships. This reduction is contingent on their being fuelled with hydrogen derived from renewable sources and operated using clean shore power while in port.
Erik Hofmeester, Head of Fleet Management at Samskip Group, emphasises the importance of partnerships in achieving their emission reduction goals, stating, “Samskip's level of ambition on emissions requires partners like ABB, with similar objectives for innovation and the willingness to invest in the future. These ships are a milestone for the maritime industry, delivering hydrogen fuel cells as a clean and renewable technology.”
Notably, the Norwegian state-owned company Enova has co-financed this pioneering project, though the exact sum remains undisclosed. Enova, operating under the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment, actively supports the transition towards cleaner energy production, energy-efficient solutions, and the advancement of energy and climate technologies. This collaboration underscores the broader industry commitment to sustainable and green maritime solutions.