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SEAM power systems for zero-emission hydrogen fast ferries

Published 7 Jul 2022 (updated 29 Apr 2024) · 2 min read

Norled ferry

Quick information

At a glance

  • World’s first maritime power system combining a battery with hydrogen fuel cells
  • Emission-free alternative to diesel-electric hybrids
  • Can significantly reduce overall CO₂ emissions from passenger ferry transport

SEAM has developed the world’s first hydrogen-electric hybrid power system for fast passenger ferries. The system will open up for a wider range of emission-free waterborne transport.

Ferries are the main mode of transport for many people living in coastal or island communities. Ferries also have tremendous unexploited potential as public transport in cities located near harbour basins or along rivers.

Fossil fuel-powered ferries are, however, highly polluting – emitting CO₂, SO₂, NOₓ and particulate matter. Diesel-electric hybrid ferries are a more environment-friendly alternative, but are not entirely emission-free. Meanwhile, all-electric ferries have zero emissions, but current battery technology does not offer sufficient capacity to cover longer distances due to weight and volume.

Hydrogen-electric hybrid power system for fast passenger ferries

SEAM has developed a hybrid power system combining a battery and hydrogen fuel cells that allows ferries to sail at high speeds over longer distances.

The system is fully integrated and comprises an engine, hydrogen fuel cells, drivetrain and battery. It will be sold under the brand name e-SEAMatic® BLUE.

SEAM has also developed a similar hybrid power system that uses a battery and liquid hydrogen. The system is being installed on the world’s first liquid hydrogen-electric ferry, which is under construction for Norled. With a capacity of 299 passengers and 80 cars, the ferry will be the first of its kind to run entirely on zero-emission fuel. It is scheduled to enter service along the coastline of Southern Norway in 2021.

Electric panel

Concrete benefits

One of the benefits of hydrogen as a fuel, aside from zero emissions, is that it allows for sailing over longer distances and at higher speeds. SEAM’s hydrogen-electric hybrid power system takes full advantage of this, making hydrogen-powered ferries a genuine alternative to fossil-fuelled ferries.

The system will also help to reduce overall emissions from passenger ferry transport. It is estimated that Norled’s liquid hydrogen ferry will spare the environment for approximately 4 000 metric tons of CO₂ emissions annually.

Illustration of the Aero40 H2 fast ferry, a collaboration between Brødrene AA, Boreal Norge and Westcon Power & Automation.
Illustration of the Aero40 H2 fast ferry, a collaboration between Brødrene AA, Boreal Norge and Westcon Power & Automation.

Market potential

SEAM’s hydrogen-electric hybrid power system is suitable for a wide range of other vessels, in addition to fast passenger ferries. These include passenger boats for waterways, high-speed boats, and cargo, offshore and service vessels.

SEAM was known as Westcon Power & Automation until 2021. Westcon was founded in Norway in 1988 and began developing energy storage solutions in 2013. The company delivered the power and automation systems for the zero-emission sightseeing boat Future of the Fjords, which was awarded 2018 “Ship of the Year” at SMM.

SEAM delivers a wide range of products, including electric and hybrid propulsion systems for marine vessels.

Stian Risdal

Sales Director

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SEAM AS

SEAM AS

Husøyvegen 31, 4262 AVALDSNES, Norway

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