A Norwegian project emerging from a competition to develop the world’s first zero-emission bulk carrier is progressing towards its 2024 service launch target after receiving design approval. Incorporating hydrogen for its fuel with wind power and batteries for energy storage, the vessel known as With Orca is seen as a milestone in the journey to a zero-emissions future for the shipping industry.
The project started at the end of 2020, and after a six-month competition, with more than 31 bidding shipowners, the With Orca project was selected. The ship is designed by Norwegian Ship Design and the hydrogen will be supplied by Statkraft. The Green Shipping Program, a public-private partnership for the development of environmentally friendly transport projects, facilitated the competition where Felleskjøpet Agri and Heidelberg Cement joined forces in the competition to develop, build and operate a bulk carrier zero-emission hydrogen. The team selected Egil Ulvan Rederi, a family-owned shipowner based in Trondheim, Norway, to develop, build and operate a zero-emission cargo ship.
The With Orca designs have now received Approval in Principle (AiP) from Lloyd’s Register. LR awarded the AiP after completing a risk-based HAZID certification based on the class society’s experience with hydrogen vessels and projects using new fuels.
“We have been working on the project for over a year and a half, and the AiP confirms that we have made good design choices in our efforts to create a safe, efficient and feasible concept,” said Ivar Ulvan, owner and project manager of Egil. Ulvan Rederi. “Receiving the AiP from Lloyd’s Register is an important milestone for us. We have learned a lot in the process towards AiP.
The design calls for a 5,500 ton vessel that will be approximately 289 feet long. Orca will be powered by hydrogen, stored on board in compressed form, and the hydrogen combustion engine will be optimized for increased efficiency. The vessel will also have a fuel cell system for power generation under low load conditions.
We have been working hard to evaluate different solutions for the onboard hydrogen system,” said Gjermund Johannessen, CEO of Norwegian Ship Design. “We have developed a unique and safe hydrogen concept, and we have used the special properties of hydrogen as one of the means to achieve this.”
The ship’s route will be primarily through open waters in the North Sea, where the weather conditions are ideal for wind-assisted propulsion according to the design team. As such, the ship will also be equipped with two large rotor sails. They expect that a significant portion of the energy required to operate the ship will be harvested directly from the wind through the rotor sails. The ship also has the ability to store excess energy in batteries.
“LR is delighted to have been selected for the world’s first project that uses multiple alternative propulsion technologies,” said Mark Darley, marine and offshore director for Lloyd’s Register. “Based on our thorough risk-based analysis, we are pleased to grant approval in principle for the use of hydrogen as a sustainable and safe solution for vessel propulsion.”
The self-discharged hydrogen bulk carrier is expected to enter service in 2024, demonstrating the capabilities of hydrogen and wind propulsion. Along with Orca will transport cargo for Heidelberg Cement and Felleskjøpet. It will transport aggregates from west to east Norway and grain in the opposite direction.