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First-of-its-kind technology set to revolutionize global shipping: ‘A milestone for the maritime industry’

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ZURICH/ ROTTERDAM : The vast majority of international trade takes place via our planet’s waters. Engineering and tech company ABB is helping to chart a new course to reduce the amount of harmful carbon pollution as a result.

ABB is collaborating with Dutch shipping company Samskip and India’s Cochin Shipyard, a shipbuilding and maintenance facility, to bring us some of the first ocean container ships that will use a hydrogen fuel cell power distribution system, as CleanTechnica reported.

“These ships are a milestone for the maritime industry,” Erik Hofmeester, the head of vessel management at Samskip, said in a press release.

ABB’s proprietary onboard grid and tech package helps optimize the usage of hydrogen energy while ensuring safety, reported the Maritime Executive. The companies are beginning with the construction of two vessels that will be able to travel approximately 800 miles.

William Grove, a Welsh inventor, is credited with dreaming up the hydrogen fuel cell in 1842, but the technology didn’t begin to see significant applicable development until the 1950s. The first car powered by hydrogen fuel cells wasn’t released by GM until 1966.

Hydrogen is a clean energy because it only releases water when utilized. Each of the new Samskip vessels is projected to avoid the creation of roughly 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually — basically the pollution-saving equivalent of removing more than 5,000 passenger cars from the road in a year.

That’s great news for the health of our planet and everyone who calls it home.

According to NASA, in less than 200 years, the actions of humans have increased the amount of carbon in the atmosphere by 50%, which has contributed to the overheating of Earth and led to an increased risk of extreme events like wildfires.

Thankfully, this effort by ABB, Samskip, and Cochin Shipyard is yet another example of promising tech and cooperation that could make our future a cleaner, safer place while maintaining international trade, as well as human connection.

“ABB is at the forefront of shipping’s most ambitious plans for decarbonization and setting new standards for green maritime transportation,” Juha Koskela, the division president of ABB’s Global Marine and Ports Business, said in the press release. He further noted that operational expenses would also be reduced.

The International Maritime Organization, an agency that regulates shipping, is committed to reducing pollution from international shipping by 2050, with a focus on increasing the usage of low-carbon fuels by 2030.

There’s no word yet on when the ships will be ready for their first voyage, but according to the news reports the order for them was made during the second quarter of 2023.

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