Project to develop hydrogen-powered ferry moves forward after contract for design awarded
Plans to build a sea-going ferry powered using hydrogen-fuel cells advanced on Friday after it was announced that a commercial contract for the development of a concept design had been awarded.
Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd, which is owned by the Scottish government, said in a statement that the contract had been given to the London-headquartered Aqualisbraemar LOC Group.
The two parties will collaborate on the concept, which CMAL said would be based around the needs of a “double-ended sea-going passenger and car ferry, with capacity for 120 passengers and 16 cars or two trucks.”
The idea is that the ferry would be designed to travel between Kirkwall and Shapinsay in Orkney, an archipelago located north of mainland Scotland.
It represents the latest development for the HySeas III project, which has received funding from the European Union.
The goal of Hyseas III is to show that fuel cells can be integrated into a “marine hybrid electric drive system” consisting of tech such as batteries and electric propulsion.
To this end, the project aims to develop, build, test and validate “a full sized drive train on land.” Alongside CMAL, other partners in the consortium include the University of St. Andrews, Orkney Island Council and Kongsberg Maritime.
John Salton, fleet manager and projects director at CMAL, said the contract award constitutes “a significant step forward in establishing a new, innovative vessel concept, and marks an important shift towards entirely emissions-free marine transport.”
“If successful, the next step will be to take the knowledge and know-how into building a ferry,” Salton said.
Other hydrogen ships have already been developed and put into use. Back in 2008, for example, a fuel cell ship capable of carrying passengers entered into service on a lake in Hamburg, Germany.
In March of this year Linde, a firm specializing in engineering and industrial gases, said it had been chosen by Norwegian firm Norled to provide liquid hydrogen and associated infrastructure for a hydrogen-powered ferry. The MF Hydra, as it’s known, will be able to carry both passengers and cars.
In a statement at the time Norled’s CEO, Heidi Wolden, said the firm believed hydrogen would “play a significant role in the future of zero-emission ships.”
Described by the International Energy Agency as a “versatile energy carrier,” hydrogen has a diverse range of applications and can be deployed in sectors such as industry and transport.
Ferries are not the only mode of transportation where hydrogen fuel cells could have a role to play.
Hydrogen buses have been used in cities such as London and Aberdeen, for example, while hydrogen fuel cell airplanes have also taken flight in recent years.
U.S. ambassador insists America remains the top foreign policy actor in the Middle East
The U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Martina Strong believes the U.S. is unequivocally the most important foreign policy actor in the Middle East.
Her comments come roughly one year after President Joe Biden threatened “consequences” for Saudi Arabia after the OPEC kingpin slashed oil production along with its allies against Washington’s wishes.
The U.S. is seeking to orchestrate a delicate balancing act in the region, particularly as it pushes for the normalization of ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia and responds to China’s growing influence.
Saudi Arabia has recently shown signs of steering toward China and Russia after rekindling relations with Iran through Beijing-mediated talks and receiving an invitation to join the emerging economies’ BRICS alliance.
Asked by CNBC’s Dan Murphy whether the U.S. remained the most important foreign policy actor in the region, Strong replied, “Absolutely. I have no doubt about it. Our leadership is really unquestioned and apparent in every, I would say, region of the world — and this is no different.”
Strong said the U.S. is “working very closely together with the UAE and with our other partners here in the region on our core national security priorities as well as our national economic priorities.”
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman (L), India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) and U.S. President Joe Biden attend a session as part of the G20 Leaders’ Summit at the Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi on September 9, 2023.
Evelyn Hockstein | Afp | Getty Images
“When it comes to security, President Biden has put forward a very positive, strong vision for our cooperation with the region. It’s based on diplomacy, it’s based on deterrence, de-escalation and, at the end of all this, of course, is prosperity,” she added.
“We’ve been doing that successfully here in the UAE for over 50 years, and we look forward to doing so for many years to come. I would say what is perhaps unique about our partnership with the UAE is how future-oriented and forward-looking that partnership is.”
— CNBC’s Ruxandra Iordache contributed to this report.
Indian energy minister warns of ‘organized chaos’ if oil tops $100 per barrel
Oil prices surged to their highest level in more than a year on Thursday. The U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures reached $95.03 per barrel, marking the highest cost since August 2022.
Manan Vatsyayana | Afp | Getty Images
India’s minister of petroleum and natural gas warned that there’ll be “organized chaos” if oil prices break above $100 per barrel, but said the South Asian nation is well positioned to weather higher costs.
“If the price goes above $100, it’s not going to be in the interest of either the producing country or anyone’s interest. You will have large, organized chaos,” Hardeep Singh Puri told CNBC’s Dan Murphy during a panel at the ADIPEC oil and gas conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Tuesday.
But “you should not be worrying about the impact on India. India’s a large economy that has a lot of domestic production. We’ll cut back, we’ll do something or the other,” Puri said.
Last week, oil prices surged to their highest levels in more than a year with U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures hitting $95.03 per barrel. Prices have since pulled back, standing at $89.44 a barrel in Wednesday morning trade in Asia.
While Puri was confident that India could navigate higher prices, he warned that other nations may not be able to do so.
“I would worry about what happens to other parts of the developing world … that is really a worrying point,” Puri said, highlighting that rising prices in the last 18 months have placed “100 million people into abject poverty.”
“They had to go from reasonably priced gas and cooking fuels [to] wet wood, coal or whatever they could get. That is the problem.”
Hardeep Singh Puri, India’s minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, at the ADIPEC conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023.
Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The minister said on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter, that oil producers need to be mindful of the struggles consuming countries face.
“During the pandemic, when crude oil prices crashed, the world came together to stabilize the prices to make it sustainable for the producers. Now, as the world is at cusp of economic recession & slowdown, oil producers need to show [the] same sensitivity towards the consuming countries,” he said in a post.
Puri also said the major energy challenge the world faces is addressing the “trilemma” of availability, affordability and sustainability. He claimed that India has “done well” on energy availability and affordability.
While India — the world’s third-largest oil importer and consumer — set a net-zero goal for 2070, other large economies have far earlier targets. China aims to reach carbon neutrality by 2060. Japan and the U.S. have targets for 2050.
Still, Puri reiterated how India’s sustainable energy transition is taking place at a “more comprehensive scale” and faster than what was originally anticipated.
“When prices shoot up, people’s resolve to transition works faster … There’s a realization that we’ve got to get off our backsides and do things which are important.”
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