HPC prepares concept study for a hydrogen bunker station on the deep-sea island of Helgoland

The municipality of Helgoland has commissioned HPC Hamburg Port Consulting (HPC), as subsidiary of Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA), to carry out a concept study for the construction of a hydrogen bunker station on the deep-sea island. The study will require HPC to investigate the commercial and infrastructural suitability of the island as a potential location for H2 fuel supply for shipping traffic on the North Sea.


Driven by international sustainability goals and efforts to significantly reduce climate-damaging carbon dioxide emissions caused by shipping, ship owners are looking to power their vessels using alternative fuels. While the use of LNG-powered container ships has already become standard, the market is looking for renewable alternatives with long-term potential. Current research focuses on methanol, ammonia and hydrogen drives to replace conventional marine diesel fuels.

So that alternatively powered ships can be employed on a large scale, a corresponding bunker infrastructure must be available in ports. The island of Helgoland is frequented in particular by crew transfer vessels (CTVs), passenger and research ships and recreational craft. At the same time, green hydrogen from the AquaPrimus project will be available on Helgoland in the future.

"Taking into account the good availability of green hydrogen in the area of the island, we would like to examine the extent to which Helgoland can also reliably provide a supply for ships calling there in the future," says Christoph Tewis, project manager for AquaCore and the TransHyDE project Helgoland.

The concept study carried out by HPC includes, on the one hand, evaluating the market potential of alternative fuels for island shipping with the aim of estimating the potential demand. Taking the local framework conditions into consideration, various refuelling concepts for hydrogen are then examined. Another focus is to investigate the conditions and prerequisites for the possible location of a hydrogen bunkering station with reference to suitable plans to ensure the logistics of supplying the fuel. In addition to evaluating and recommending such plans, the study will include initial estimates of the necessary investments.

"The results of the study will better enable the municipality of Helgoland and its partners to make an investment decision based on realistic costs," says Patrick Specht, Head of Sustainability at HPC.

HPC is already credited with carrying out various national and international innovative energy projects for ship technologies and port infrastructure, including the preparation of a test centre for fuel cell vehicles in the port context for a Hamburg terminal operator.

The concept study for a hydrogen bunker station on Helgoland is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the hydrogen lead project TransHyDe. One of three hydrogen lead projects of the Ministry, TransHyDE supports the goals of the National Hydrogen Strategy, which was adopted by the Federal Government in 2020. The hydrogen lead projects involve the research and development of new technologies and application solutions for the production, storage and transport of green hydrogen.

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