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AS investment in the development of hydrogen as a ship fuel heats up around the world, classification society DNV, along with 26 other companies and associations, has published a new handbook on the subject.

The Handbook for Hydrogen-fuelled Vessels provides insight into regulatory and safety barriers; identifies knowledge gaps and how to close them; and explains hydrogen’s unique properties as ship fuel.

Many in shipping recognise hydrogen’s potential as a fuel, but the barriers to realising this potential are substantial.

Local interest in hydrogen has come from Australia-based Global Energy Ventures, which is working with German company ILF Beratend Ingenieure to identify and develop green hydrogen projects in Europe and Australia.

The handbook offers such developers a roadmap towards safe hydrogen operations using proton exchange membrane fuel cells. It details how to navigate the complex requirements for design and construction, and it covers the most important aspects of hydrogen operations, such as safety and risk mitigation, engineering details for hydrogen systems and implementation phases for maritime applications.

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Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO of DNV Maritime said, “We are fortunate to be working with companies that are really ahead of the curve in terms of hydrogen operations.

“Having such esteemed partners and observers on board this project makes the insights gleaned all the more valuable. Furthermore, it shows how the shipping industry can pool its collective expertise and to tackle these crucial issues.”

Some of the main challenges for hydrogen operations in shipping include the current regulatory framework, which is open to interpretation by different stakeholders, existing knowledge gaps on the safe handling, storing and bunkering of hydrogen, as well as the unique properties of hydrogen that make it challenging to work with.

Nathaniel Frithiof, senior consultant, environment advisory at DNV Maritime said, “This handbook provides a comprehensive overview of what companies need to consider with a hydrogen-fuelled vessel, as well as areas that require further investigation and testing before this technology can be taken up on a larger scale”.

Download the full report here.

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