Industrial gases firm Linde will supply liquid green hydrogen and related infrastructure to the world’s first hydrogen-powered ferry, a vessel by operator Norled that will transport both cars and passengers in Norway.

The liquid hydrogen for the MF Hydra ferry will come from a new 24MW proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser Linde is building at the Leuna chemical complex in Germany that will use renewable power from the country to produce the green hydrogen.

Deliveries are scheduled to start next year, at which point the fuel cell-powered ferry will reduce its annual carbon emissions by up to 95%.

"Hydrogen is a powerful energy carrier with proven potential for reducing carbon emissions when used in mobility," said Armando Botello, president Europe North at Linde.

“We are proud to be working with Norled and, together, take the lead in developing the marine sector's transition to climate-friendly fuels."

Linde will also build and install onshore and on board hydrogen storage, distribution and safety equipment.

The project comes as Norway is trying to decarbonise transport, and in particular its large shipping and ferry sector.

Bergen-based system integrator Norwegian Electrical Systems (NES) last year announced plans to plant a 3.2MW hydrogen fuel cell onto a large vessel currently being designed by Havyard Design for the ship owner Havila to cruise Norway’s fjords. Cruise ships are among the largest emitters of greenhouse gases on Norway’s coasts.

“We believe that hydrogen will play a significant role in the future of zero-emission ships," said Heidi Wolden, CEO of Norled.

The electricity to power the electrolyser in Leuna to produce the green hydrogen will come from certified renewable energy in Germany (and later from a yet-to-be-built renewable power plant close to the Leuna plant).

Renewable electricity is cheaper and more abundant in Norway, but Germany is already at the start of a massive ramp-up of a green hydrogen sector and with it electrolysers. In the longer run, German does expect to become an importer of green hydrogen, though.