Shipping contributes significantly to local air pollution in major harbour areas and around 3% of global CO2 emissions. Shipping is bound to grow together with global trade and against other sectors decarbonising more quickly. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has found that GHG emissions from ships have already increased by 70% since 1990  and the European Commission strategy  estimates that without action the global share of shipping's GHG emissions may reach 17% by 2050. IMO has set a 50% reduction target for emissions related to maritime transport by 2050 compared to 2008, and an ambition of full decarbonization by 2100. In this context, the shipping market is forced to identify more sustainable fuels on the route to full decarbonisation and adopt new technologies for on-board energy conversion for all its fields (cargo, passenger ferries, cruise, service/supply vessels…).
Hydrogen as a fuel can enable zero-emission shipping in both GHG and pollutant emissions. However, the volumetric energy density of gaseous hydrogen is a limiting factor in terms of range which is critical for several types of ships. Hydrogen in its liquid form at approx. 20Kelvin (LH2) is a promising solution to address this issue but little knowledge related to the handling and use of LH2 within the shipping sector exists today due to a lack of demonstration projects. In turn, it hampers the progression of its inclusion in relevant regulations. Similarly, managing LH2 within a port environment (where industrial clusters users of hydrogen are often found) is yet to be demonstrated, with its subsequent learnings.
There are currently several challenges associated with using liquid hydrogen as a fuel in shipping:
The scope of this topic is to develop a prototype of a maritime power system operating on LH2 including bunkering concept with the potential for scaling-up (for larger amount of stored energy in adequacy with a 20 MW system, preferably fuel cell based), ensuring minimisation of hydrogen loss/leakage/boil-off. The system should be capable to deliver to the ship propulsion and/or on-board energy needs. The prototype's scalability needs to be proven ensuring the capability to completely replace prevailing ship propulsion systems.
A reference ship should be selected for the ship’s operational profile, the power/energy requirements and volume/weight constraints defined. A type of ship within an early adopters' segment of maritime transport preferably with potential for extensive use and widespread deployment is recommended, to secure the overall impact of the effort.
The proposals should address the following technical components/issues of the prototype system: