The keel laying ceremony of the Neo Orbis, a pilot ship for the H2Ships project, has been held at Dutch shipbuilding company Next Generation Shipyards, marking the start of the ship’s construction.
H2Ships is the Interreg North-West Europe project that will demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of hydrogen bunkering and propulsion for shipping, identifying the conditions for successful market entry for technology.
According to project partners, the Neo Orbis will be the first ship in the world to sail electrically, propelled with hydrogen in solid form as an energy carrier – sodium borohydride – and will therefore be completely emission-free.
Next Generation Shipyards was contracted last summer to build the ship and, as informed, the construction is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2023.
After that, the Neo Orbis will serve as the flagship for the Port of Amsterdam, with trial sailing scheduled to start in June 2023.
The vessel’s design comes from the Dutch engineering consultant Wijk Yacht Creations while hydrogen installation is a design of H2 CIF.
The Neo Orbis, which stands for New World, will enter service in 2024 and will serve as a scale-up for inland shipping, shortsea, dredging, offshore and possibly also patrol vessels and naval vessels. Port of Amsterdam said that the first studies into this are already underway.