The Wilhelmsen led project, to construct the world’s first zero emission hydrogen vessels, has been awarded 219 million Norwegian kroner (USD 25 million) by the Norwegian government-owned organisation Enova. These funds will enable Wilhelmsen to further develop the technology and additional infrastructure required to support the maritime industry’s ambitions towards zero emission fuels.
The Topeka project revolves around the construction of two ro-ro vessels servicing the short sea segment. The vessels will, amongst other tasks, move goods between offshore supply bases along the Norwegian west coast. In addition, the Topeka vessels will transport hydrogen to different filling stations where local ferries and other vessels as well as land transport will have hydrogen as a ready-to-use fuel.
Wilhelmsen aims to be an integral part of the development of hydrogen for marine applications in Norway and also internationally.
Going under the concept name “Topeka”, the vessels will be the first of their kind to enter commercial service. Providing a two-in-one solution, they will sail on a fixed schedule carrying both coastwise customer cargo and containerized liquid hydrogen (LH2) to the bunkering hubs. Norway’s west coast is dotted with bases serving the offshore industries, with base-to-base transport representing a heavy-duty transport route eminently suited to LH2. The bunkering hubs will in the future supply LH2-powered vessels including ferries and seagoing tonnage.