Can hydrogen replace ship fuel oil?

By: Emilia Samuelsson

Regular hydrogen-powered containership services on the transpacific could be a common sight by 2030, according to a new report from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).

The study found that 99 per cent of container ship voyages between China and the United States in 2015 can be powered by hydrogen with only minor changes to fuel capacity or operations – i.e. by replacing 5 per cent of cargo space with more hydrogen fuel or by adding one additional port of call to refuel. Moreover, 43 per cent of the 2015 voyages can be made without any such changes.

The results show that the bunkering needs of some of the largest ships in the world can be met with hydrogen with only minor changes to operations. Other potential alternative fuels, including ammonia and methanol, carry more energy per unit volume than hydrogen, and are thus promising areas for future research.

Source:, 2 March 2020.The study:

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