Lithuania at Leading Edge Building First Hydrogen-Electric Powered Ship

hydrogen-electric battery vessel
Lithuania started construction of a hydrogen-electric powered harbor craft (Klaipeda State Seaport Authority)

Published Jun 21, 2024 9:26 PM by The Maritime Executive


The Lithuanian shipping industry is joining the leading edge of the industry becoming one of the first to be building a hydrogen-electric powered ship. While the technology is viewed with great promise only a few ships have moved into construction using hydrogen fuel cells combined with batteries.

The construction of the country’s first hydrogen-electric ship began at Western Baltija Shipbuilding (WBS) with a keel laying ceremony. Commissioned by the Klaipeda State Seaport Authority, this ship is a harbor craft designed for waste management.

"I am glad that this modern vessel, which meets the highest environmental protection requirements, is being built in Klaipeda,” said Lithuanian Minister of Transport and Communications Marius Skuodis. “This is extremely relevant and significant not only for Lithuania but also on a global scale."

Today’s symbolic keel laying ceremony is an integral part of the shipbuilding process. The first block of the vessel has been completed. They marked the occasion with a special plate decorated with three coins that was attached to the block.

The tanker will be 138 feet (42 meters) long and 33 feet (10 meters) wide with a capacity to collect 400 cubic meters of liquid waste. It will be equipped with two electric motors powered by batteries with a capacity of 2000 kWh and an installed on-board hydrogen fuel cell system. Depending on the intensity of work, the ship will be able to operate within the Port of Klaipeda for up to 36 hours on a single charge.

The hull, superstructure, and wheelhouse will be constructed at the Western Baltija Shipbuilding at the Port of Klaipeda, along with the installation of cargo systems and other works. The Estonian company, Baltic Workboats is responsible for the installation of the main and auxiliary machinery, and the harmonization and testing of all the ship systems. The hydrogen fuel cell system will also be installed in Estonia.

According to current regulations, all ships arriving at or departing from the Port of Klaipeda are required to dispose of all ship-generated waste at a port reception facility. The Port Authority provides a waste collection service. In addition to increasing the service, the new vessel will add a modern and environmentally friendly element to the operation.

The shipbuilders designed a ship for the collection of oily bilge water, sewage, sludge, and other waste. It needs to be equipped with waste collection tanks and an oily bilge water treatment plant that will treat the waste waters and transfer everything along with the sewage to the city’s onshore wastewater treatment plant. 

The project has a total value of €12 million with the ship expected to enter service in the Port of Klaipeda at the end of next year. It is also part of a larger project that will see the Port Authority become one of the first companies in Lithuania to produce green hydrogen, as well as having a hydrogen-powered ship.