Hydrogen-fuelled ferry MF Hydra to commence operations in Norway

A new hydrogen-fuelled ferry, MF Hydra, carrying both passengers and cars, is due to commence operations today in Norway, following around four years of major technical development by Norwegion ferry and express boat operator Norled.
Hydrogen-fuelled ferry MF Hydra to commence operations in Norway
MF Hydra. Courtesy of Norled.

MF Hydra is a hybrid vessel utilising batteries and liquid hydrogen fuel cells which recently completed two weeks of sea trials, following tests conducted since the beginning of the year at the quay in Hjelmeland. The vessel received its final approval from the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA).

This is the first time a ferry running on liquid hydrogen has operated on a commercial route carrying passengers and cars, which it will continue to do on the Hjelmeland-Nesvik route in Norway, operated directly by Norled. The pilot project for the vessel was conducted at Hjelmeland, where Norled developed the technology and also the appropriate safety rules and regulations, approved by NMA and DNV. These are now available for future vessels fuelled by hydrogen to use, without having to develop them from scratch. The project also firmly demonstrated that liquid hydrogen can be used on ships, showing that larger ships will be able to use hydrogen over long distances where drawing on batteries is no longer possible.

Linde Engineering in Germany supplied the hydrogen systems for MF Hydra, while the Danish company Ballard developed the fuel cells that produce electricity from hydrogen. Westcon in Ølensvåg equipped and completed the vessel together with system integrator SEAM from Karmøy, which also supplied the automation scope for the hydrogen system. Corvus Energy supplied the batteries.

Norway has seen an electric ferry revolution since Norled launched the world's first battery-operated, propeller-driven ferry, the MF Ampere, in 2015. Currently, the country has around 70 electric ferries in operation.

Norled, based in Stavanger, with offices in Bergen and Oslo, currently deploys 80 vessels and operates ferry and express boat services from the Oslofjord to Troms county. The company has invested significantly in new types of vessels and eco-friendly technology, and has developed solutions used solely by the company.

The company has been involved in the development of green ferries for 20 years. Eleven years ago, the NPRA issued a tender which resulted in the MF Ampere, the world's first electrical ferry with propeller drive.

“Today will be a historic day, both for Norled and for Norway as a leading shipping nation” said Heidi Wolden, CEO of Norled. “Today we are witnessing the world's first ship sailing on liquid hydrogen. It's important for us to be at the forefront when it comes to technology development. Investing in innovation, sustainability, and collaboration to develop new solutions is our way of taking social responsibility.”

Erlend Hovland, Chief Technology Officer of Norled, added that there are only two parties in the world that use liquid hydrogen as a fuel, Norled with the MF Hydra, and the space industry using it as fuel for launches.

“This says something about the giant technology leap now taken for the maritime industry” said Mr Hovland. “After a lot of development and testing, we are now looking forward to welcoming passengers on board for a zero-emission journey between Hjelmeland and Nesvik.”

For additional information:


Baterías con premio en la gran feria europea del almacenamiento de energía
El jurado de la feria ees (la gran feria europea de las baterías y los sistemas acumuladores de energía) ya ha seleccionado los productos y soluciones innovadoras que aspiran, como finalistas, al gran premio ees 2021. Independientemente de cuál o cuáles sean las candidaturas ganadoras, la sola inclusión en este exquisito grupo VIP constituye todo un éxito para las empresas. A continuación, los diez finalistas 2021 de los ees Award (ees es una de las cuatro ferias que integran el gran evento anual europeo del sector de la energía, The smarter E).