When it comes to hydrogen, the focus is mainly on production and utilisation potential and rarely on transport and handling. But during the current decade, a hydrogen economy will be established, in which the maritime sector will play a crucial role.
Prospects: the maritime supply chain begins far off-shore. In accordance with the Power-to-X principle, hydrogen is partly produced directly at sea off the northern German coast, using wind power and electrolysers. From there, it is transported by bunker ship to the ports, fed into a hydrogen network and supplied to industry and HGVs. Northern Germany offers excellent conditions due to its efficient maritime industry, expertise in developing off-shore production sites, as well as on-shore transport and handling, and potential large consumers in industry and maritime transport.
Shipping itself has so far produced almost three percent of global emissions. Synthetic marine fuels are the buzz word here. The current status, prospects and technology for “Hydrogen-based fuels in the maritime industry” were discussed by a panel of experts in a digital session of the same name on 25 March 2021 in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Center for Maritime Logistics and Services, CML. Keynote speeches covered topics such as promising developments in hydrogen technology in shipping, suitable engines and the development of hydrogen systems, as well as anticipated market developments.
Fraunhofer CML is working on a range of solutions for all the above-mentioned areas. In one hydrogen logistics project, CML staff are modelling and evaluating the logistics chains for transporting hydrogen to an inland industrial firm. They are paying particular attention to transport-related energy losses because transport and logistics costs are a crucial factor for the competitiveness of hydrogen. Transport losses and links to industry are still considered weak points. A study with other Fraunhofer Institutes is currently investigating the prerequisites for the supply chain of a prospective hydrogen economy, as well as its transport needs with regard to production, transport and utilisation. It is also a precursor for developing the necessary technologies and services for companies and their individual demand scenarios. This should enable them to actively shape the future market. Because the developing hydrogen economy, from maritime transport to inland logistics, is creating new opportunities for companies to position themselves along a (green) hydrogen value chain in northern Germany and beyond.
About the author:
Claudia Bosse holds a BEng. in industrial engineering and has worked in the port and terminal development field of activity at Fraunhofer CML for ten years. Her remit focuses on researching and analysing logistics issues, as well as identifying potential and design possibilities. At CML, Mrs Bosse has worked on various transport, logistics and location development projects and studies for the Baltic Sea area and Hamburg. Her remit focuses on researching and analysing logistics issues, as well as identifying potential and design possibilities. Mrs Bosse has been Head of PR at CML since 2010 and applies her research experience to this role.