There have been many developments concerning fuel in the shipping industry, such as the use of bio-fuels, reduced sulphur content or increased usage of LNG, all with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

A further exciting development in this field is the unveiling of a project for a hydrogen-powered ferry by a group of Japanese conglomerates, including NYK Line and Toshiba.

With the IMO’s ambitious target of halving greenhouse gas emissions from shipping, the industry is already feeling the effects through the imposition of Emission Control Areas and the need for scrubbers for continued use of high sulphur fuel oil.

Now the development of hydrogen fuel cell systems, particularly in the short-sea trade, seems to be the area most innovators are focusing their investment on.

It will be interesting to see what effect this new fuel system has on the industry, particularly as to who must supply and pay for it. Safety procedures for hydrogen cell ships will also have to be developed and ports will have to create new protocols for dealing with fires on vessels that use hydrogen. Legal and regulatory measures will undoubtedly follow.