Finnish dry cargo vessel operator ESL Shipping, a subsidiary of Aspo, is taking part in a project to produce hydrogen as a fuel at the port of Luleå in Sweden as the first customer-side stakeholder.
Named Botnia Link H2, the project is a partnership between energy company Uniper, technology firm ABB, Swedish Port of Luleå and Luleå Energi. The goal of the Botnia Link H2 project is to produce and market fossil-free hydrogen to customers in the transport sector and industry as an alternative for fuel, electricity, and heat generation.
The entire stakeholder value chain is now covered with ESL Shipping on board. The company carries over 5.5m tons of dry bulk cargo in and out of Luleå every year, linking Europe and industries in the Norrland region. ESL Shipping is in the process of renewing its fleet and has already invested over €200m (216m) towards its ultimate goal of offering 100% fossil-free shipping solutions. The company ordered a series of six electric hybrid vessels in India last year, set to enter service starting in the third quarter of 2023.
“Tackling climate change is very urgent, especially given the sensitivity of our home waters in the Baltic Sea. Along with our customers and partners, we have a responsibility to do what we can to turn the tide. Industrial partnerships like Botnia Link H2 are key to achieving real change,” said ESL Shipping’s managing director Mikki Koskinen.
The partners have applied to the Swedish Energy Agency to become a candidate in the Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI), the EU instrument launched in 2021 to kick-start the hydrogen economy. Once up and running, the partners estimate the hub could reduce CO2 emissions in Sweden by up to 235,000 tons annually.