Norway backs the use of autonomy and hydrogen

'Yara Birkeland' is a concept battery-operated container vessel being built to reduce costs and enable zero emissions Photo: Yara 'Yara Birkeland' is a concept battery-operated container vessel being built to reduce costs and enable zero emissions Photo: Yara

Norway has pledged its intention to go even further than the IMO’s initial strategy on greenhouse gases adopted in April.

In his opening speech at the GCAS shipping event, Norway's Minister of Climate and Environment Ola Elvestuen said that the country intends to achieve zero emissions as soon as possible by using hydrogen and autonomous shipping.

“Hydrogen is our next chapter in zero emission fuels and technologies. By 2021 we expect to have a car ferry with hydrogen electric propulsion, minimum 50% hydrogen,” he said.

“We need to develop rules and regulations for the maritime use of hydrogen. Norway is ready to deliver green solutions on the path to decarbonising international shipping.”

Pioneering projects

Mr Elvestuen pointed to the Yara Birkeland project which involves the build of a concept battery-operated container vessel being built to reduce costs and enable zero emissions.

The vessel has been designed to transport fertiliser from Yara's Porsgrunn plant in Norway via inland waterways to the ports of Larvik and Brevik removing up to 40,000 truck journeys annually in the region.

The solution will be implemented in phases, with the level of automation gradually increased over time. Delivery is scheduled to be completed during the second quarter of 2020.

Yara has partnered with technology company Kongsberg to design and build the container vessel with Kalmar providing infrastructure on the quayside.

“Yara are pioneers in autonomous, zero emission shipping. A truly astonishing project in many ways,” Mr Elvestuen said.

"The 25-year lifetime of a ship … illustrates that every single investment decision taken today will have implications for the future of the environment. We have a decisive window of opportunity in our response to the climate change challenge."

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