KOCHI: In a significant announcement, Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal said on Saturday that the Cochin Shipyard will develop and build the first indigenous hydrogen fuel electric vessels as part of the efforts to achieve green shipping.
Speaking at the workshop on Green Shipping organised by the Ministry of Ports and Shipping at Hotel Grand Hyatt in Kochi, the minister said the vessels will be built by Cochin Shipyard.
The decision is part of India's transformative efforts on the green energy and cost-effective alternate fuel front. Hydrogen fuel cells can be used in a wide range of applications, including transportation, material handling, stationary, portable, and emergency backup power applications. Fuel cells operating on hydrogen fuel are an efficient, environmentally-friendly direct current (DC) power source, and are now under development for marine applications.
The minister said the Cochin Shipyard Limited will implement the project in collaboration with Indian partners and the groundwork for the project has already begun. The Cochin Shipyard has partnered with Indian developers of hydrogen fuel cell, power train and Indian Register of Shipping for developing rules and regulations for such vessels.
The hydrogen fuel cell vessel is based on low-temperature proton exchange membrane technology (LT-PEM) called fuel cell electric vessel (FCEV) is expected to cost around Rs. 17.50 crores of which 75% will be funded by the Union Government.
The development of the hydrogen fuel cell electric vessels is considered a launchpad for the country to tap the potential of coastal and inland vessels segment both nationally and internationally. The project is expected to augment the efforts in achieving the target set by the Prime Minister of becoming carbon neutral by 2070. It will also be in compliance with the standards set by International Maritime Organization (IMO) that envisages a reduction in carbon intensity of international shipping by at least 40% by 2030 and 70% by 2050.
The minister declared that India is firmly committed towards a sustainable and clean environment. India had called for the "One Sun – One World – One Grid" initiative, as a lead player in the International Solar Alliance, he noted.
Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Shantanu Thakur, Ministry of Ports secretary Dr Sanjeev Ranjan, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, Director General of The Energy and Resources Institute, Dr Vibha Dhavan, International Maritime Organisation Global Partnerships & Projects head Jose Matheickal, Innovation Norway India country director Christian Valdes Carter and Cochin Shipyard CMD Madhu S Nair spoke on the occasion.