Crew transfer vessel operator Windcat Workboats, part of Antwerp-based shipping and logistics group Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB), together with its joint venture partners Thomas Services Maritime (TSM) and FRS Offshore, will be adding six additional hydrogen-powered vessels by 2024.
The new order follows the launch of the world’s first hydrogen-powered CTV, the Hydrocat 48, and its delivery and trials with its first customer Vestas earlier this year.
The six additional hydrogen-powered CTVs include four vessels of the so-called MK3.5H2 series, two of which will be delivered in 2022 and two in 2023. The next vessel that will be delivered in this series is intended for the German offshore market and will be operated by joint-venture partner FRS Windcat. The other two vessels will be of the new MK5 series, a 27 m long vessels with double the hydrogen capacity of the MK3.5H2 series.
“The investment that we are making gives our customers access to more hydrogen-powered vessels in a short time, which will support them to achieve their own climate targets. We are actively engaging with hydrogen producers, clients, port authorities and class societies to ensure hydrogen fuel is readily available for use,” stated Willem van der Wel, managing director, Windcat Workboats.
Windcat Workboats owns and operates a growing fleet of over 48 CTVs, mainly in the European offshore wind sector, but also in the oil and gas industry and outside Europe. The company said it is working with CMB’s clean technology division, CMB.Tech, to further optimise engine capacities with the aim of increasing the percentage of hydrogen used in their dual fuel design, with a long-term plan to eventually enable a mono-fuel option through the internal combustion engine.
With the hydrogen supply chain still in its infancy, CMB.Tech and Windcat have developed solutions for delivering the fuel to vessels. This includes a 40ft 500bar trailer capable of transporting hydrogen for remote refuelling of all the different applications currently in use. “This enables hydrogen bunkering in various port locations that are a distance from the hydrogen source. Multiple applications and customers can be served by this one system, meaning the Hydrocat fleet has access to hydrogen bunkering,” Windcat said.