May 21, 2022 | Shipbuilding & ship repair news

The Port of Antwerp-Bruges and CMB.Tech, the clean-tech subsidiary of logistics and shipping company CMB (Compagnie Maritime Belge) have announced the launch of the Hydrotug, believed to be the first hydrogen-powered tugboat, at the Armón group Navia yard in Spain, and which is scheduled to begin operations in 2023.

The Hydrotug is equipped with two BeHydro V12 dual fuel medium speed engines that can run on hydrogen and traditional fuel. This will serve as an important step in the Port of Antwerp-Bruges’ transition to a sustainable, climate neutral port by 2050. With the Hydrotug, CMB.TECH says it confirms its international pioneering role in the transition to ships powered by environmentally-friendly fuel.

CMB.Tech CTO Roy Campe said: “We are delighted that Port of Antwerp-Bruges will be the first user of Hydrotug, the world’s largest hydrogen-powered vessel. The technology has been approved by Lloyd’s Register and we are ready to approach the global market of 10.000 tugs. With this technology we can significantly improve the air quality in ports and bring hydrogen technology to every port worldwide.”

The Hydrotug is part of an integral greening programme for the Port of Antwerp-Bruges fleet. With this innovation, Port of Antwerp-Bruges strives to integrate the most environmentally-friendly technologies available. The Hydrotug can store 415kg of compressed hydrogen in 6 stillages installed on deck and eliminates the CO2 emission equivalent of 350 cars.

Vice Mayor for the port, urban development, spatial planning and patrimony of the City of Antwerp, and President of the Board of the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, Annick De Ridder, said: “The unified port cherishes the ambition to become the energy gateway to Europe as a ‘green port’. An important role in this is reserved for (green) hydrogen. We therefore applaud such projects. It is innovations such as these that ensure that our port continues to excel as the economic engine of Flanders. We look forward to the arrival of the Hydrotug in Antwerp towards the end of the year.”

Port of Antwerp-Bruges Manager Operations, Rob Smeets, added: “Recently Port of Antwerp merged with the Port of Zeebrugge into one big organisation that aims to reconcile people, climate and economy. Our common goal is to become carbon neutral by 2050, by walking many different sustainability paths, such as carbon capture and storage, and efforts in hydrogen. By 2028 our goal is to have the first green hydrogen molecules on our platforms. Moreover, we are investigating a hydrogen pipeline between the two ports and towards the European hinterland so we can use as much renewable energy as possible. This hydrotug is a fantastic example of what our sustainable future should look like.”

BeHydro is a joint venture between CMB.Tech and engine company ABC. It has developed technology for cleaner, high-output medium-speed engines. The Hydrotug is the first vessel to be powered by these dual fuel medium speed engines – each rated at 2MW – with the latest EU Stage V emissions after-treatment. The engines have passed the necessary Lloyd’s Register Factory Acceptance Tests (FAT) that validate the correct operation of the equipment.

Following launch of the Hydrotug at Armón Shipyards, final outfitting will be completed over the next few months with sea trials following later in 2022, the aim being to start full operation in Antwerp in the first quarter of 2023.

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