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Maritime Propulsion

May 24, 2022

Hydrotug: World's First Hydrogen-powered Tug Launched

Hydrotug (Photo: Port of Antwerp)

Hydrotug, the world's first hydrogen-powered tugboat, has been launched at Armón Shipyards in Navia, Spain, marking a key milestone on the path toward wider adoption of the sustainable, climate neutral fuel in workboat applications.

Remaining outfitting work will be completed over the next few months ahead of sea trials later this year. The groundbreaking vessel is scheduled to be delivered by the end of this year and enter full operations in the first quarter of 2023 for shipping and logistics group CMB (Compagnie Maritime Belge) in Antwerp.

The Hydrotug is the first vessel to be powered by two BeHydro V12 dual fuel medium speed engines—each providing 2 megawatts—that can run on hydrogen and traditional fuel, with EU Stage V emissions after treatment. BeHydro, a joint venture between CMB's cleantech arm CMB.TECH and engine manufacturer Anglo Belgian Corporation (ABC), recently developed the technology for these medium-speed engines with a higher power output. The engines passed the necessary factory acceptance tests (FAT) that validate the correct operation of the equipment, as required by classification society Lloyd’s Register.

The vessel can store 415kg of compressed hydrogen in 6 stillages installed on deck and eliminates the emission's equivalent of 350 cars.

Roy Campe, CTO of CMB.TECH, 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 a fleet greening program for the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, which is transitioning to a climate neutral port by 2050.

Vice Mayor for the port, urban development, spatial planning and patrimony of the City of Antwerp, President of the Board of the Port of Antwerp-Bruges – Annick De Ridder, aid, “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, said, “Recently Port of Antwerp merged with the Port of Zeebrugge into one big organization 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.”