Port of Antwerp readies landmark hydrogen fuelling

Port of Antwerp readies landmark hydrogen fuelling

The Port of Antwerp aims to open a hydrogen bunkering station later this year, its CEO Jacques Vandermeiren revealed earlier this week at Petrospot’s Marine Energy Transition Forum. The news comes as Antwerp, Europe’s largest petrochemical complex, brings online a swathe of alternate fuels for shipping, including LNG and methanol.

While social media posts suggested the hydrogen bunkering could happen within the next couple of months, a spokesperson for the port told Splash that Antwerp was still working on the logistics of the venture, a world first, and no timeline could be confirmed yet.

Developments regarding hydrogen as a ship fuel are accelerating fast in recent months, but the news from Antwerp marks the first time a major port has announced a marine hydrogen fuel supply.

This week, sister title Splash Extra reported that scientists from Stanford University have successfully created hydrogen fuel using solar power and seawater, in a huge breakthrough that the lead researcher said could be adapted for international shipping. In December, MAN Cryo, a wholly owned subsidiary of MAN Energy Solutions, became the first supplier to develop a marine, liquid hydrogen fuel-gas system.

Results from a survey released yesterday via Maritime CEO magazine show that among 450 Splash readers hydrogen was deemed the second best fuel after LNG for shipping to meet its 2050 decarbonisation goals.

Antwerp is making a name for itself in its ambitious ship fuel offerings. It has just embarked on a pilot project to produce up to 8,000 tonnes of sustainable methanol a year.

By the port, Antwerp already has a hydrogen fuelling station for buses. Port of Auckland in New Zealand is building the city’s first hydrogen fuel production plant on its waterfront land for hydrogen-powered forklifts and cars, and possibly a bus to be trialled on Auckland routes. Meanwhile, in Spain, the Port of Valencia is about to launch its H2Ports pilot project to utilise hydrogen energy for carrying out operations at its container terminals.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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