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World’s first hydrogen-fuelled harbour tug launched

One of the world’s first hydrogen-powered tugboats has been launched from the shipyard ready to be outfitted and completed

Armón Shipyards in Navia, Spain is building Hydrotug 1 for operations in the Port of Antwerp-Bruges. This ground-breaking tugboat will be launched 16 May and Armón Shipyards will continue to work on the vessel Q2 and Q3 2022.

Extensive testing and sea trials will follow, with delivery of Hydrotug 1 planned by the end of this year with it fully operational in Q1 2023 in Antwerp.

CMB.Tech worked with Anglo Belgian Corp on the propulsion system and the hydrogen-powered engines. Hydrotug 1 has two BeHydro V12-cylinder, dual-fuel, medium-speed engines that can run on hydrogen and diesel.

Port of Antwerp-Bruges said introducing this tug is an important step in the transition to a sustainable, climate-neutral port by 2050.

“The unified port aims to become the energy gateway to Europe as a green port,” said Port of Antwerp-Bruges president of the board Annick de Ridder. “An important role in this is reserved for (green) hydrogen. We therefore applaud such projects.”

Ms de Ridder is also vice mayor of the City of Antwerp, responsible for the port, urban development, spatial planning and is a member of the Flemish Parliament.

Hydrotug 1 is part of an integral greening programme for the Port of Antwerp-Bruges fleet. The port is striving to integrate the most environmentally friendly technologies available and to innovate in its vessel operations.

“Our common goal is to become carbon neutral by 2050, by walking many different sustainability paths, such as carbon capture and storage, and efforts in hydrogen,” said Port of Antwerp-Bruges manager for operations Rob Smeets.

“By 2028, our goal is to have the first green hydrogen molecules on our platforms,” he explained. “Moreover, we are investigating a hydrogen pipeline between the two ports and towards the European hinterland, so we can use as much renewable energy as possible. This hydrogen-powered tug is a fantastic example of what our sustainable future should look like.”

Classification society Lloyd’s Register verified the technology on board Hydrotug 1, said CMB.Tech chief technology officer Roy Campe.

“We are delighted that Port of Antwerp-Bruges will be the first user of Hydrotug 1, the world’s largest hydrogen-powered vessel,” he said. “The technology has been approved by Lloyd’s Register and we are ready to approach the global market of 10,000 tugs.

“With this technology we can significantly improve the air quality in ports and bring hydrogen technology to every port worldwide,” Mr Campe added.

Hydrotug 1 can store 415 kg of compressed hydrogen in six stillages installed on deck.

It is the first vessel to be powered by these BeHydro dual-fuel, medium-speed engines, with each providing 2 MW of power, and exhaust aftertreatment to comply with the latest EU Stage V emissions requirements.

The engines passed the necessary factory acceptance tests that validate the correct operation of the equipment, witnessed by Lloyd’s Register.

CMB.Tech has been working on other hydrogen-powered vessels. In May 2022, Windcat Workboats and CMB.Tech unveiled the world’s first hydrogen-powered crew transfer vessel. Hydrocat 48, is ready for operation after successful completing trials and bunkering with hydrogen.

(Source: Riviera by Martyn Wingrove)