Viking Cruises to Build World’s 1st Hydrogen-Powered Cruise Ship?

Cruise ship owner Viking Cruises unveiled plans for a liquid hydrogen-fuelled cruise ship in an effort to develop the world’s first cruise ship with zero-emission technology.

Serge Fossati, project manager at the shipping company, presented the plans at the Norwegian Maritime Authority’s Safety at Sea Conference in Haugesund.

To feature a length of around 230 metres, the cruise ship would be able to accommodate more than 900 passengers and a crew of 500.

“This is a world sensation. Very exciting. If they pull this off, a distribution network may be established, which will enable others as well to use hydrogen as fuel, and could contribute to a zero-emission shipping industry,” Olav Akselsen, Director General of Shipping and Navigation, said.

Viking Cruises envisions constructing a ship based on the same design as their seagoing cruise ships, such as the recently delivered Viking Sun. Additionally, the shipping company informed that the hydrogen ship would be registered in the Norwegian Ship Registers (NIS) if it is realised, and is already in dialogue with the Norwegian Maritime Authority.

“As a Norwegian and with Norwegian ships, we want to lead the way to zero-emission ships through fuel cell technology. The road to that point is still long, but here at Viking we want to be ahead of the game,” Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises, said.

So far, liquid hydrogen has not been used as marine fuel. One of the technical challenges is to maintain the fuel at minus 253 degrees to keep it from evaporating. A fuel cell will convert the hydrogen to electricity for propulsion and electric power on board.

At present, liquid hydrogen is not produced on a large scale in Europe, but Fossati explained that Viking Cruises is in dialogue with Statoil in order to find a solution based on a Norwegian refinery. It also emerged that the shipping company wants to use Norwegian suppliers for the project, as far as possible. Several tender ships to carry the fuel to the cruise ship are also part of the project, according to the Norwegian Maritime Authority.

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