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Ballard has embarked on a project to transform a bulk carrier to operate on green hydrogen fuels

“Ballard is excited to embark on the European GAMMA project with Verkís Consulting Engineers to decarbonize ocean transport and trade. We’re transforming a bulk carrier to operate on green Hydrogen fuels, powered by Ballard’s heavy-duty Fuel Cells, the company announced on 6 February.

The GAMMA innovation project started  in January 2024,the Icelandic engineering company Verkís stated earlier.This is according to Kjartan Due Nielsen, Innovation Manager at Verkís, which is leading the GAMMA project.”On behalf of the entire group of partners, I can say that we are proud and grateful that the European Commission has chosen to support the GAMMA project and efforts to convert international shipping in a greener direction. We will retrofit a bulk carrier with highly innovative technologies and during a demonstration campaign we will prove that it is possible to replace auxiliary generators with a new fuel system that runs on e-fuels. After proof of concept in GAMMA the next step would be to replace the main engines of a ship for a full energy transition. All in all, the project is very visionary, and could be a green game changer for shipping in the future,” says Kjartan Due Nielsen.

An innovative fuel system will be installed on the ship. Ammonia and green methanol will be bunkered on-to the ship and then converted into hydrogen with cracker and reformer technologies. The hydrogen will be purified and then converted into electricity with a fuel cell, which will be providing electric energy to the vessel and thus replacing the use of the auxiliary generators running on fossil fuel.

In addition to that, the partners have gone further, since part of the energy necessary to convert to hydrogen will be supplied by renewable energy, in this case PV panels, which will be installed on the hatch covers of the bulk carrier.

Fraunhofer Institute provides the conversion technology, Amnis Pura the purifying and the fuel cell is provided by Ballard Power Systems Europe, meanwhile PV panels will be provided by Italian company Solbian.The innovation project has received €13 million in support from the European Commission’s Horizon Europe framework programme for innovation. The total budget is €17 million, and the complex application process was led by Inspiralia. Gamma stands for Green Ammonia and Biomethanol fuel MAritime Vessels and involves 16 partners from Europe.

Photo of  Verkis 

Press release

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