A CMB.Tech joint venture is planning to launch the first hydrogen-powered ship in Africa.

The plan was unveiled today at a ceremony in Walvis Bay, Namibia attended by King Philippe of Belgium and Namibian President Nangolo Mbumba.

It is backed by Cleanergy Solutions Namibia, a joint venture between the Saverys family green shipping company and solar power expert Ohlthaver & List Group (O&L).

The company plans to develop a multifunctional port utility vessel powered by dual-fuel hydrogen engines.

The design will build on that of the Hydrotug, a hydrogen-powered tug deployed by CMB.Tech in Belgium.

The vessel is being built together with the Port of Antwerp-Bruges and Namibian port authority Namport.

The move is part of a growing number of projects that Cleantech is developing at its green hydrogen site in Namibia.

The multifunctional port utility vessel will be powered by dual-fuel hydrogen engines being developed by CMB,Tech-backed Cleanergy Solutions Namibia. Photo: CMB

The site, expected to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2024, will include a hydrogen refuelling station and a production plant.

It will use solar energy for the on-site production of green hydrogen.

“We are doing this because we believe decarbonisation and a shift to renewable energy are important trends in the global economy,” said CMB.Tech chief executive Alexander Saverys.

“We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but industries that are difficult to reduce, such as maritime industries, ports and mining, cannot switch to electricity or batteries. Instead of electrons, they need molecules.

“We plan to produce these molecules in Walvis Bay to power locally operated trucks, port equipment, locomotives and small ships.”

The hydrogen plant is the first phase of a five-year plan with several projects at different locations, including ammonia bunkering, pipelines and large-scale hydrogen and ammonia production.

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