Northern Xplorer. Photo by Multi Maritime AS /Sverre Hjörnevik

New Norwegian consortium signed an agreement last week for developing a complete hydrogen value chain for Northern Xplorer’s first zero-emission cruise ship featuring fuel cells and electric propulsion.

The related Memorandum of Understanding was signed by zero-emission cruise venture Northern Xplorer AS, hydrogen provider and owner of infrastructure Norwegian Hydrogen AS, high-capacity hydrogen transfer system supplier HYON AS, ship designers Multi Maritime AS and hydrogen storage system provider Hexagon Purus Maritime AS.

Northern Xplorer’s CEO Rolf A Sandvik noted that using hydrogen as the energy carrier, will enable cruise ships to continue to access vulnerable regions such as Norway’s world heritage fjords, which by government regulation will be closed to ships burning fossil fuels from 2026. Other regions both in Norway and elsewhere will likely follow suit in the future.

”This is a very exciting project and a milestone in the development of the clean maritime economy as the green shift takes root. We are delighted to be working with strong partners with deep competence in all the touch points required to develop the infrastructure for hydrogen-powered ships of the future, not only cruise but also commercial shipping,” he added.

According to Norwegian Hydrogen CEO Jens Berge, “Northern Xplorer has a very exciting concept with a spectacular, sustainable and future-oriented ship design that is truly pleasing to the eye. We are very pleased we have been selected to assist in developing the necessary infrastructure for these ships to run on zero-emission hydrogen when they come into operation.”

Northern Xplorer signed a Letter of Intent with Portuguese shipbuilder West Sea for the construction of its maiden vessel with delivery slated for the start of the 2025/2026 cruise season.

One of the partners Norwegian Hydrogen AS was founded in early 2020, and the idea behind the company was sparked in 2018, when the Norwegian Government introduced new requirements, to be administered from 2026, for emission-free entry into the UNESCO world heritage fjords of Norway.

This fostered the idea of a hydrogen factory in Hellesylt that will provide local, green hydrogen to vessels sailing into the fjords, as Norwegian Hydrogen AS says.

Source: Norwegian Hydrogen