Zero emissions for commercial fishing

A new research and development project in Norway is aiming high, with the goal of zero emissions by 2050.

If large fishing vessels are to operate with zero emissions over long distances, battery solutions won’t be sufficient. But what if, in the near future, they could run on hydrogen technology, reducing both noise and polluting emissions while contributing to a more sustainable seafood industry?

That’s the thinking behind ZeroKyst, a new project in Norway involving twelve industry and research partners, whose main focus is the reduction of diesel consumption in fisheries.

Bent Gabrielsen, skipper of Karoline, the first electric fishing boat built by Selfa Arctic, works with a smile on his face

ZeroKyst is investigating the possibility of hydrogen-electric vessels and a mobile energy supply for fisheries, and is working to develop a system that could become a key part of the commercial fishing industry. More recently, ZeroKyst was awarded NOK120 million from the Green Platform Initiative, a new Norwegian programme that provides financial support to enterprises and research organisations that are working towards a green industrial transformation.

‘When the Green Platform Initiative was set up in 2020, the ZeroKyst project partners all decided to come together,’ said SINTEF research scientist Eirill Bachmann Mehammer.

‘There is a great need for research and development in several areas in order to meet the challenge of making the seafood industry more sustainable. We believe that the ZeroKyst project will strengthen Norwegian value creation and export through green growth.’

The ZeroKyst project aims to make hydrogen available as a fuel for a group of coastal fishing vessels

The primary objective of ZeroKyst is to accelerate the decarbonisation of the fisheries sector by making zero-emission vessels and their associated infrastructure more accessible. Commercial fishing currently consumes around 400 million litres of petroleum per year, which accounts for 5% of the total consumption of petroleum in Norway (8.1 billion litres).

ZeroKyst’s partners – big and small companies with long-term experience and success with similar challenges – are aiming to demonstrate that both new and existing vessels in the seafood industry can be emission-free. The goal is to achieve a technology shift by 2023, reducing emissions by 50%  by 2030 and meeting a target of zero emissions by 2050.

Some of the partners have already developed technology for hybrid-electric vessels, and this will be built upon further in order to eliminate petroleum consumption. The main focus of ZeroKyst is the development and construction of zero-emission powertrains, vessels and other necessary services for the commercial fishing industry.

SINTEF Energy research scientist Eirill Bachmann Mehammer

Sustainability and safety are two of the main areas of research by SINTEF in order to develop long-term, safe and energy-efficient hydrogen-electric solutions. A plan for hydrogen supply and charging infrastructure along the Norwegian coast will also be established. By thinking comprehensively and starting with smaller vessel segments, hopes are high that hydrogen will be quickly adopted as a fuel.

‘We are aiming to make the third technology shift in the reduction of emissions,’ said Erik Ianssen of Selfa Arctic AS, project manager for ZeroKyst.

‘This follows on from the first shift, which was electric cars, and the second shift, which was in the ferry sector. The third shift is going to be in the seafood sector,’ he said.

Read more about ZeroKyst