The Bastia maritime high school is preparing to receive its new hydrogen ship

The Bastia maritime high school is preparing to receive its new hydrogen ship
The Bastia maritime high school is preparing to receive its new hydrogen ship

The Bastia maritime high school is on the verge of seeing an ambitious project come to fruition. The Gatto shipyard in Martigues is due to launch its new hydrogen-powered ship next Wednesday and it will enter service at the next school year. It will be named Alba, meaning dawn in Corsican. An evocation of the sunrise that can be admired from the high school facing the sea, but also a reference to the new spirit that the construction of this ship wants to generate and to the new generation of sailors in training from the entire region of Corsica but also from the continent.

Demanding specifications

The genesis of the project dates back to 2020. The maritime high school wanted to equip itself with a new ship “as virtuous as possible”, to respond “to today’s challenges by helping to promote the energy transition and the appearance of a zero-emission navigation mode or at least as carbon-free as possible,” explains Julien Cometto, deputy director of the establishment, to Mer et Marine. The idea was also to provide a new support for education and the promotion of training consistent with the environment in which it will operate, within marine areas and remarkable sites.

“We produced a CCTP (specific technical clauses) which was intended to be tough, but realistic.” The school did not want a prototype, but “a boat meeting the regulations, with the 220 division” while being “in line with the needs of the professional world”. It therefore needed sufficient autonomy to respond to fishing activities, sea trips, or even servitude.

The high school took the opportunity of a call for projects as part of the France recovery plan to obtain a grant of 4 million euros for its project, also certified by the Pôle Mer Méditerranée. This budget allowed it to finance the substantial study phase and construction. The public maritime training establishment was able to be the sole project leader and promote its training objectives and integrate its values ​​(energy transition, project development, meeting professionals, promotion of the hydrogen sector, etc.).

The call for tenders for the maritime high school launched in April 2021 attracted the interest of five groups. In the end, it was the one led by the naval architecture firm Mauric which won in February 2022. It was accompanied by Energy Observer (with the EODev REX H2 modular solution developed around the Toyota hydrogen fuel cell ), Alternative Energies (calculations and energy architecture), as well as the Gatto shipyard (shipbuilding). Partners, several of whom had already worked together in the past. As for the classification, it was carried out by Bureau Veritas. After a phase of detailed studies with an in-depth risk analysis (Hazid – HAZard IDentification), construction could begin in January 2023 with the laying of the keel.

A boat powered by green hydrogen

Alba is a boat 19.95 meters long, by 5.6 wide, with a draft of 1.53 meters. The hull has been optimized to consume as little as possible and provide good seaworthiness in local conditions (short swells) with anti-roll keels and trim tabs. The boat is built from infused composite materials with sandwich material planking to optimize weight. The materials are biosourced for the superstructure roof and wheelhouse.

At the rear, flaps will stabilize the ship

The electro-hydrogen propulsion system was designed with redundancy. The vessel is equipped with two 70 kW EODev REXH2 solutions powered by nine hydrogen tanks located on deck. The fuel cells charge two battery banks of 177 kWh each which turn the two 200 kW Danfoss electric motors coupled to two shaft lines. The assembly allows “to have the necessary power to meet all the needs of the ship as they have been dimensioned. Both in maneuvers and in fishing operations.” In the most energy-intensive configuration, for seining, the ship must consume less than half of its hydrogen in 12 hours and returns to port with 80% of its battery charge. In navigation, at 10 knots, the ship has 110 miles of autonomy.

Integration of the EODev solution in December 2023

For refueling, Alba will benefit from green hydrogen produced by shaving current from the production of a photovoltaic park in Corsica Sole a few dozen kilometers south of Bastia, in Folelli (Folell’Hy project). This hydrogen will be stored on site then transferred into bundles (assembly of hydrogen tanks) to be transported by truck to the port of Bastia. It will thus be able to refuel the ship, via flexible, to a distributor of the Europe Technologies group, in the port of Bastia, by passing the hydrogen from a pressure of 500 bars to 350 bars on board the ship. “Everything is complete and will be operational by the end of the year,” says Julien Cometto.

The machine compartment with a surface area of ​​50 m2 is high enough to allow students to move around to see clearly. Likewise, the 10 m2 wheelhouse offers good 360 degree visibility to keep an eye on the students and the ship has a 15 m2 classroom at the front. As for the aft deck, it is more than 14 meters long with more than 60 m2 of available surface area.

Alba is equipped with good sonar, a bird radar and numerous equipment (crane on the stern, winches, line hauler and net hauler) for practicing Mediterranean trades (longlining, net, seine). It also has a sediment collection jib and can pick up buoys.

© An article from the editorial staff of Mer et Marine. Reproduction prohibited without consent of the author(s).

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