The prestigious classification society, ClassNK, has granted Approval in Principle (AiP) for a pioneering parcel layout concept of a hydrogen-fueled multi-purpose vessel.

This vessel was collaboratively developed by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL), MOL Drybulk Ltd. (MOL Drybulk), Onomichi Dockyard Co., Ltd. (Onomichi Dockyard), Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. (Kawasaki), and Japan Engine Corporation (J-ENG). A significant milestone, this AiP signifies the first-ever certification for a ship powered by a large low-speed two-stroke hydrogen engine as its primary propulsion system.

A Glimpse into the Future of Marine Transportation

This groundbreaking achievement opens a new chapter in the maritime industry, signaling a shift towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly modes of transport. The vessel’s development aligns with the growing global focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and embracing hydrogen as a clean energy source.

Project Overview and Key Players

As part of the “Development of marine hydrogen engines and MHFS,” a project embraced by the Green Innovation Funding Program of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), the vessel is set to undergo a demonstration operation for approximately two years starting around fiscal year 2027.

The core players in this project are:

  • Japan Engine Corporation (J-ENG): J-ENG plays a pivotal role by providing the vessel’s large low-speed two-stroke hydrogen-fueled engine.
  • Kawasaki Heavy Industries: Kawasaki is responsible for the development and installation of the Maritime Hydrogen Fuel Supply System (MHFS).
  • Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) and MOL Drybulk Ltd. (MOL Drybulk): MOL and its subsidiary MOL Drybulk are tasked with vessel ownership and operational management.
  • Onomichi Dockyard Co., Ltd. (Onomichi Dockyard): Onomichi Dockyard spearheads the vessel’s development and construction.

ClassNK, known for its dedication to maritime safety and technology advancement, performed an exhaustive review of the parcel layout concept for the Maritime Hydrogen Fuel Supply System (MHFS). The evaluation was based on the organization’s established rules, incorporating the IGF Code (International Code of Safety for Ships Using Gases or Other Low-Flashpoint Fuels), and integrated risk assessment through Pre-HAZID (Preliminary Hazard Identification Study).

Upon satisfying the requisite conditions, ClassNK granted the AiP, acknowledging the vessel’s compliance with safety and environmental standards.

Toward Decarbonizing Shipping

This momentous AiP not only celebrates innovation but also marks a significant step toward decarbonizing the shipping industry. Hydrogen, recognized for its potential as a clean energy source, particularly for heavy transport, is gradually finding its place in maritime transportation.

ClassNK’s ongoing commitment to safety assessment and support for the project’s safe implementation signifies a pivotal move towards a greener, more sustainable future for the shipping sector.

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