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CMB launches hydrogen powered passenger test vessel

As the race continues to develop alternative, zero emission, fuel sources for shipping Belgian shipping group CMB has launched the first hydrogen-powered passenger vessel, Hydroville.

The Hydroville was christened in Antwerp on Wednesday in a ceremony conducted by Bishop Johan Bonny, with Deputy Prime Minister Kris Peeters, Flemish Minister-President Geert Bourgeois and State Secretary Philippe De Backer in attendance.

The demonstration vessel is designed to showcase the use of hydrogen to power vessels and will act as a commuter shuttle for CMB employees in Antwerp. The vessel features two dual fuel combustion engines and 12 hydrogen tanks, as well as two diesel tanks for ignition and back-up fuel.

Explaining the choice of a hydrogen powered vessel CMB said: “The company opted for combustion engines because batteries or fuel cells are less suitable for heavy transport (such as ships and aircraft).

“The batteries required for an application of this kind would be so huge that their cost and weight would make them economically unfeasible. The time it takes to charge that kind of battery would be problematic as well. Fuel cells offer more possibilities in that area, but the high cost makes them less suitable for large-scale commercial transport.”

The Hydroville is a pilot project to test technologies for larger hydrogen fuelled vessels.

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