Dutch family-owned shipowner Maris Fiducia has been awarded NOK 300m ($28.4m) to support the design and build of five hydrogen-powered bulkers.

The grant comes from Enova, the Norwegian state-owned organisation backing innovation projects. Maris Fiducia has a Norwegian subsidiary.

The award is part of NOK 1.2bn in new grant funding by Enova — its biggest ever funding round for shipping projects.

The funding is for the construction of five 6,000-dwt dry bulk vessels with dual-fuel engines that will run on hydrogen, with additional fuel cell systems for auxiliary power where traditional vessels would have diesel gensets.

They will be on “zero-emission” time charters to German owner and operator Schulte & Bruns.

HAV Hydrogen, a division of Oslo-listed HAV Group, will provide each ship with the auxiliary systems, a power module and fuel tank system with a capacity of 400 kW.

Fuel supply has been agreed with Norwegian Hydrogen, a company formed in 2020 that counts Mitsui and Fortescue as shareholders.

“We are thrilled that Enova recognised the strong case for the project with this award, which is an important milestone for our team in Norway,” said Markku Vedder, chief executive of Maris Fiducia.

“A little over one year ago we were inspired by a conversation with Jorgen Kopperstad from Norwegian Hydrogen about fuel availability and technical competence in the Norwegian maritime cluster. It has been quite a journey since then, but we are only just starting.”

The funding also allows HAV Hydrogen to develop its zero-emission pod module.

It plans to have its first full-scale module ready for testing this year and available for installation on the first of the newbuildings at the end of 2025, depending on shipyard selection, which has not been disclosed.

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