Roch PR client DFDS to develop hydrogen ferry

Artists’ impression of the hydrogen-powered ferry

We’re delighted to be working with DFDS to share the news that it is partnering with engineering and technology specialists to develop the world’s first ferry powered by electricity from a hydrogen fuel cell.

DFDS and Lloyd’s Register will partner with ABB, Ballard Power Systems Europe, Hexagon Purus, KNUD E. HANSEN, Ørsted and Danish Ship Finance to deliver the ferry. The ship’s fuel cell will emit only water, with green hydrogen produced by a projected offshore wind energy-powered electrolyser plant.

The group of companies have applied for EU support, via the EU Innovation Fund, to develop the technology, which will initially be deployed on the ferry company’s Oslo – Frederikshavn – Copenhagen route. The company operates UK ferry services from Dover, Newhaven and Newcastle.

The hydrogen fuel cell system will produce up to 23 MW of electricity to power the ferry. The hydrogen will be produced locally in Greater Copenhagen based on offshore wind, and the project will investigate how to optimally integrate with the local energy system.

Torben Carlsen, chief executive of DFDS, said: “The largest fuel cell systems today produce only 1-5 MW, and the development of such large-scale fuel cell installations for an electric ferry is a monumental task. We can only succeed in partnership with companies that together can muster some of the globe’s finest expertise in design, approval, building, financing and operation of innovative vessels.

“Together, we expect to learn how to make these fuel types and technologies commercially viable, which is key to a transition of the industry to climate neutrality, which is also the ultimate goal of DFDS’ climate plan.”

Charles Haskell, decarbonisation progamme manager at Lloyds Register, said:“In order for the industry to reach the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) 2050 ambitions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shops, it will need to transition to zero carbon fuels. This is a complicated pathway not just in terms of technology, but also infrastructure.

“The partners in the DFDS project are industry leaders within their respective fields, from zero carbon energy companies, through fuel storage and fuel cell providers. This collaboration, supported by experts from the Maritime Decarbonisation Hub, will help solve a number of unanswered questions. Lloyd’s Register will help ensure a thorough and impartial de-risking of this hydrogen fuelled Ro-Pax ship design, including safety assessment of the complete supply chain.” 

If the project develops as projected, the ferry could be in full operation as early as 2027. It has the working name Europa Seaways and is designed for 1,800 passengers, with capacity for 120 lorries or 380 cars. 

Vessel and route details
On board power productionPEM Fuel cells
Engine power23MW
FuelCompressed hydrogen
Fuel tank capacity44T
Passenger capacity1,800
Trailer & Car capacity2,300 lanemeters
Route           Copenhagen – Frederikshavn – Oslo
Roundtrip time48 hours
Bunkering interval48 hours
CO2e/year emission avoidance64,000 Tons

About DFDS:

DFDS is Northern Europe’s largest integrated shipping and logistics company, with a network of around 30 routes and 50 freight and passenger ships.

DFDS prides itself on offering world-class facilities and services and the widest choice of ferry routes into northern Europe.

In the UK, the company operates passenger ferry services on routes from Dover to Calais, Dover to Dunkirk, Newcastle to Amsterdam and Newhaven to Dieppe.

DFDS has been named ‘Europe’s Leading Ferry Operator’ for eight years running (2012-2019), as well as the ‘World’s Leading Ferry Operator’ for the last nine years (2011-19).

DFDS currently operates up to 54 sailings a day between Dover and France on its Dover-Dunkirk and Dover-Calais routes. DFDS also offers two daily sailings between Newcastle and Amsterdam. In addition, the DFDS network includes a passenger and freight service between Newhaven to Dieppe, which has four daily sailings and is operated by Transmanche Ferries.

For further information about DFDS, or to find out about the latest sailing times, fares and offers across all routes from the UK, visit,

Quotes from the partners:

ABB Marine & Ports 

“With the increasing demand for solutions that enable sustainable, responsible shipping, we are confident that fuel cells will play an important role in helping the marine industry meet CO2 reduction targets. Collaborating on this project with partners across the value chain is an important step on the marine industry’s journey towards enabling zero-emission operation for RoPax vessels.” 

Jostein Bogen, Global Product Manager, ABB Marine & Ports. 

Ballard Power Systems Europe A/S        

“Fuel cells in combination with hydrogen will play a key role in helping the marine industry address GHG emissions. With the “Hydrogen EU-ROPAX” project and the strong partnership behind it, we will not only meet the demand for zero-emission marine solutions we will also contribute to creating green jobs and growth in Denmark and ensure a Danish leadership role within the marine segment.” 

Jesper Themsen, President & Chief Executive Officer, Ballard Power Systems Europe A/S     

Hexagon Purus 

“The DFDS EU-ROPAX project enables all parties to stretch their capabilities to look beyond any comparable solution seen so far. It is a large-scale hydrogen value chain exploration that will move our visions,” 

Michael Kleschinski – EVP Light Duty, Distribution & Cylinders


“Due to the ongoing global fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions it is more important than ever for designers to collaborate with ship owners, regulators and equipment makers to innovate and rethink how we design ships. This project is a great example of how much we can push traditional thinking. By combining new ideas and close collaboration we can show how the future in ship design could potentially look.”  

Finn Wollesen Petersen, Managing Director, KNUD E. HANSEN 


“Renewable hydrogen and other sustainable fuels will be key in decarbonizing the maritime sector and heavy transport as a whole to meet Danish and international climate targets. If regulators are willing to put the right framework in place to enable the demand and supply side of sustainable fuels, Danish companies are willing to invest in large-scale Power-to-X-projects. This project is another proof of the strong potential of renewable hydrogen production, powered by continued build-out of offshore wind.”

Anders Nordstrøm, Vice President and head of Ørsted’s hydrogen activities.