'MF Hydra': World's first liquid hydrogen-powered ferry gets operational

The 82.4-meter-long ferry can carry up to 300 passengers and 80 vehicles and decrease its yearly carbon emissions by up to 95%.
Baba Tamim
MF Hydra sailing.
MF Hydra sailing.


The world's first liquid hydrogen-powered ferry launched by the Norwegian business Norled is operational now. 

The Norwegian Maritime Administration granted MF Hydra, the ferry, clearance to sail, said the company's press release on Friday. 

"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," said Erlend Hovland, Chief Technology Officer of Norled. 

Since the beginning of the year, Norled has been testing the system, and in recent weeks, the Norwegian Maritime Authority has given its final clearances. The ferry will travel in Norway on a triangular route between Hjelmeland, Skipavik, and Nesvik.

The 82.4-meter-long MF Hydra, which was delivered in 2021, can carry up to 300 passengers and 80 vehicles. It will be able to travel at a speed of 9 knots thanks to its two 200 kW fuel cells, two 440 kW generators, and two Shottel thrusters.

The ferry has an 80 cbm hydrogen storage tank, which should allow it to decrease its yearly carbon emissions by up to 95%.

Norled worked with a number of foreign partners to achieve this milestone. The hydrogen systems on board were supplied by the German company Linde Engineering. Dane Ballard invented fuel cells that use hydrogen to generate power.

The vessel's outfitting and completion were the responsibility of system integrator SEAM from Karmy and Westcon in Lensvg. The automation scope for the hydrogen system was also provided by SEAM. 

The Batteries for the MF Hydra were provided by Corvus Energy, and the vessel has received Det Norske Veritas (DNV) approval.

"The fact that we work together, businesses and authorities, to facilitate new technology development will give Norway a competitive advantage and may provide the basis for new jobs, while also making it even more exciting to work in the maritime industry," said Director General of Shipping and Navigation, Knut Arild Hareide

Only Norled and the space industry presently use liquid hydrogen as fuel. Therefore, the debut of MF Hydra represents a significant technological advance for the marine sector, claims the firm. 

The project marks a significant turning point for Norled and for Norway, according to the company press release, since it shows how working together with government and business can advance technology and give one an advantage.

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