Three Norwegian consortia have been selected to develop plans for the world’s first hydrogen-powered high-speed ferry capable of carrying up to 300 passengers over long distances.

The Norwegian municipalities of Finnmark, Nordland, Trondelag and Vestland have called for the consortia to develop and demonstrate their vessel plans in a first phase of the project over 2022 and 2023.

In the second phase, one supplier will be chosen to build and demonstrate the vessel, which should go into pilot operation from 2025.

Teco 2030, Umoe Mandal and Blom Maritime are the partners in one of the consortia. The other two are led by shipyard Brodrene and ship architecture company ESNA.

In its consortium, Teco 2030 will provide the fuel cell systems for its design, while shipyard and engineering firms Umoe Mandal and Blom Maritime will design the catamaran to have energy-efficient hulls.

The zero-emissions vessels, which will be able to transport 200-300 passengers, are set to be potential users of new hubs for hydrogen production along the Norwegian coast, said Vestland county mayor Jon Askeland.

Nordland county council leader Tomas Norvoll said: “By introducing hydrogen as an energy carrier for speedboats, we can create the uncompromising vessel that can replace all current speedboats in Norway.”

The project proves an “ability to lead advanced vessel developments and design [whether] it is retrofit or newbuilds through our maritime expertise”, said Tore Enger, group chief executive of Teco 2030.