Planet-friendly solutions that will help decarbonise the marine industry are becoming a reality, thanks to a 15-year collaboration between Luxfer Gas Cylinders and international shipping and logistics giant CMB (Compagnie Maritime Belge).
Gas storage pioneer Luxfer has been supplying its high-performance Type 3 alternative fuel cylinders to CMB since 2007. In total, hundreds of cylinders have helped the firm to bring to fruition prototypes and early proof of concept hydrogen systems that can power a range of marine vessels and on-road vehicles.
Fast forward 15 years and Luxfer experts are behind the hydrogen fuel storage solution in the world’s first hydrogen-powered Crew Transfer Vessel (CTV), brought to market by Windcat Workboats and CMB.TECH (the cleantech division of CMB).
Launched in May 2022, the Hydrocat 48 is a ground-breaking vessel, meeting demand from wind farm operators to be as green as possible by reducing the emissions of their daily operation.
It is estimated that the CTV can reduce up to 80% of its traditional fuel usage and associated emissions through the application of dual fuel technology, as a stepping stone towards 100% hydrogen technology.
The Hydrocat 48 features a 27-cylinder dual fuel system. With 207kg of hydrogen stored onboard, the vessel can transport 26 industrial personnel and has a refuel time of 30 minutes.
Roy Campe, CTO of CMB.TECH, explains: “For us, hydrogen is a necessary technology, as batteries are too heavy and we don’t have the space for it on high speed crafts such as CTVs. The dual fuel platform, which we have developed together with MAN, allows us to use the clean fuel, while we can still rely on the proven diesel technology. The dual fuel approach is cost-effective and robust, and this is a necessity to operate in our market.
“Even if hydrogen is not available, the vessel can continue to run on traditional fuel, making it a very robust and reliable solution for the offshore wind industry. With dual fuel technology, you can start saving emissions today, while still being able to rely on the existing diesel technology platform. It is the ideal transition technology and is here to stay for many years in the heavy-duty segment such as transport.”
Keith Croysdale, business development manager at Luxfer, adds: “CMB.TECH required high pressure onboard hydrogen storage to deliver sufficient range to the vessels they were developing, and turned to Luxfer based on our 80-year legacy in gas storage and unrivalled product quality.
“It’s great to work with a like-minded organisation that is pioneering in the use of hydrogen, with cost-effective solutions that will wean the market from fossil fuels to clean gas. We support their unique approach to making the waterways zero emissions – and while this won’t happen overnight, companies making significant strides to reduce carbon, like CMB.TECH, will change the marketplace for the better.”
Luxfer’s alternative fuel expertise has made possible a raft of world-first hydrogen transport projects. These include the UK’s first retro-fitted hydrogen trains, HydroFLEX 1&2, the world’s first commercial hydrogen truck fleet with Hyundai, the world’s first hydrogen tractor, 70 hydrogen double-decker buses operating across the UK, including Aberdeen and London, and Energy Observer – the world’s first self-powered sailing boat.