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RISK assessment firm DNV has preliminarily approved a hydrogen energy system created for two coastal cruise vessels owned by Norwegian operator Havila Kystruten.

Developed by Norwegian technology provider HAV Group, the high-capacity system uses liquefied hydrogen storage and fuel cells.

It is part of the broader FreeCO2ast project, which aims to find solutions that enable large ships to cover longer distances at higher speeds and with zero emissions. .

DNV said its preliminary approval means HAV Group can confidently enter the final design state and is one step closer to commercialising its hydrogen system.

According to DNV, green hydrogen could play an important role in the decarbonisation of shipping, both in terms of its potential as an enabler for synthetic fuels, as well as its direct use as ship fuel.

However, DNV said hydrogen’s unique properties make it a complex fuel to work with, and the lack of prescriptive regulations means companies wishing to launch hydrogen systems need to follow International Maritime Organization guidelines on alternative design.

As with all emerging fuels, the maintenance pf high safety levels when using hydrogen is paramount.

DNV Maritime director of approval, ship classification Ivar Håberg said HAV Group chose the firm to carry out a third-party verification review as part of the alternative design approval process.

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“The alternative design approval process is used for novel ship designs that cannot be approved with the current prescriptive regulations and the final approval is granted by the flag state,” he said.

“Our assessments have shown that the preliminary design complied with the goal and functional requirements in the IGF Code (IMO International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels).

“This means that HAV Group ASA has successfully demonstrated that their concept fulfils the initial criteria for safe and reliable operations with hydrogen as ship fuel.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with HAV Group ASA, and we look forward to seeing the final design take shape.”

HAV Group CEO said getting a hydrogen energy system off the ground was a challenging task.

“Getting to this stage has been the result of four years of co-operation with our internal and external partners in the FreeCo2ast project and excellent support from experts at DNV.

“Their guidance has been essential in successfully navigating the alternative design process.”

In a separate project, DNV advisory experts supported HAV Group with hazard identification and quantitative risk analysis for every aspect of its hydrogen fuel system.

The analysis covered bunkering, storage tanks, the fuel supply system and other auxiliary systems connected to the hydrogen system on board the vessels.

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