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Norway based marine technology specialist TECO 2030 ASA has signed a supply frame agreement with the Dutch shipowner Chemgas Shipping that could lead to the delivery of fuel cell modules with a combined capacity of up to 200 megawatts.

The modules are to be installed on Chemgas Shipping’s new hydrogen-powered tugboats and transport barges which will operate on the Danube River. The fuel cells will enable these boats to sail emissions-free. Chemgas Shipping plans to install fuel cell modules from TECO 2030 on up to 120 transport barges and between 40-60 tugboats. The exact number remains to be decided, and purchase orders outlining the price and delivery time for the fuel cells will be signed for each individual ship over the next few years.

“We are thrilled that Chemgas Shipping has chosen to cooperate with TECO 2030 on this ambitious and important project, and that we have now been able to progress from a letter of intent to a supply frame agreement,” said Tore Enger, CEO of TECO 2030 ASA. “The economic potential of this framework agreement is large for TECO 2030 and may lead to revenues of up to 150 million Euros over the next three to eight years”.

The vessels the fuel cell modules are planned to be installed on, will be used to transport green hydrogen produced from solar and wind energy in Romania emissions-free along the Danube to industrial buyers in Austria and Germany as part of the Green Hydrogen @ Blue Danube project.

That project is led by the Austrian energy utility Verbund, one of Europe’s biggest hydropower producers. It is possibly Europe’s most ambitious hydrogen project and is being developed within the framework of the European Commission’s Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) initiative. Its goal is to create a trans-European green hydrogen value chain – from production and transportation to purchase by industrial and mobility customers. The first phase of the project focuses on the production and use of green hydrogen in Austria and in the southern part Germany.

TECO 2030 and Chemgas Shipping are among the partners involved in the project, and the letter of intent between the two companies for the delivery of fuel cells was signed in September 2020. The first fuel cell delivery is planned to take place in spring 2023, and this will be a pilot version. Deliveries will continue over the following years, with most of them planned to occur after 2025.

The fuel cells will be installed both on the transport barges that will be used to transport green hydrogen from Romania to Austria and Germany, and on the tugboats that will transport these barges on their journey along the Danube. “The TECO 2030 marine fuel cell is the proper solution for inland waterway navigation. We have to deal with low water situations where heavy batteries are not acceptable,” said Gunther Jaegers, managing partner of Chemgas Shipping.

TECO 2030 is together with the Austrian powertrain technology company AVL currently developing the first fuel cell system in the world that is specifically designed for use onboard ships and on other heavy-duty applications. The TECO 2030 Marine Fuel Cell System and Fuel Cell Module FCM400TM have received an “Approval in Principle” (AiP) by DNV.