decarbonisation maritime transport

Decarbonisation of maritime transport: the Route du Rhum 2022 to set a course4 min de lecture

On the sidelines of the Route du Rhum 2022, BDI organised a WebTV on 27 October, on the decarbonisation of maritime transport. This event, which brought together speakers from the hydrogen and wind power sectors, was an opportunity for Daniel Cueff, Vice-President of the Brittany Region in charge of the Sea and the Coast, to announce the Region’s order for a hydrogen-powered vessel to serve the islands of the Gulf of Morbihan.


The Region will serve the islands of the Gulf of Morbihan with renewable hydrogen

Guest of this WebTV organised by BDI, Daniel Cueff took advantage of this meeting to confirm the order, by the Region, of the “zero-emission” vessel Hylias with electric hydrogen propulsion to serve the islands of the Gulf of Morbihan. “As a shipowner, the Brittany Region can no longer, in the future, serve the islands with boats running on fuel oil or diesel”, explained the vice-president of the Brittany Region, in charge of the Sea and the Coast.



The 24-metre long vessel is expected to be commissioned in 2024. It will be able to carry between 150 and 200 passengers per crossing. With a power of 400 to 600 kW, Hylias (for Hydrogen for Land, Integrated renewables And Sea) brings together many partners, including the Brittany Region, Alca Torda, Morbihan Energies and Europe Technologie CIAM ®. This project is part of the Region’s roadmap for the deployment of renewable hydrogen, the implementation of which has been entrusted to BDI.


Alongside this announcement and citing the examples of the Lorient, Saint-Malo and Saint-Brieuc agglomerations, Daniel Cueff stressed the importance of the strong commitment of local authorities and public authorities in setting up and supporting the emergence of ecological transition solutions.



Gilles Lurton, Mayor of Saint-Malo and President of Saint-Malo Agglomeration, agreed with this statement: “Local and regional authorities all have their part to play in the development of carbon-free transport.” The latter recalled the agglomeration’s desire to “achieve a totally carbon-free mobility system with buses and household refuse collection vehicles”.


With this in mind, the hydrogen operation of the big wheel of the Energy Observer village in the Route du Rhum 2022 was the first step in the development of this system.


The need for an energy mix to decarbonise maritime transport

Emmanuel Bensadoun, head of the expertise and studies department of France Hydrogène, whose regional delegation is led by BDI, recalled the main structuring projects in Brittany for the sector, such as the hydrogen recharging and production station on the Michelin site. “Brittany is seeing the emergence of a hydrogen distribution network for mobility, he said. The region is dynamic and can rely, among other things, on the potential of floating wind power to produce decarbonised energy on a large scale.” The wind-powered ship propulsion sector is not to be outdone in terms of projects carried out. Nils Joyeux, co-founder of Zephyr and Borée, highlighted the Canopée ro-ro vessel developed for ArianeGroup and the Windcoop programme in particular.


facilitation graphique décarbonation du transport maritime


In addition to these reminders, this morning’s discussions enabled a second important lesson to be drawn: the decarbonisation of maritime transport cannot be successful without the use of several energy solutions. “Each fleet segment has its own specificities”, insisted Erwan Jacquin, project manager at the French Maritime Cluster.

Hydrogen alone can power coastal transport vessels, such as the Hylias. For cargo ships, the energy requirement is much greater. “If we ask hydrogen alone to replace the hydrocarbon energy system, we won’t succeed, said Olivier Ticos, managing director of Alca Torda. For long-distance transport, hydrogen can be used as a complement to vehicle propulsion.” And Erwan Jacquin agreed: “It is indeed an energy mix that we need. We need to work portion by portion. If we can decarbonise with wind or with hydrogen, or by combining the two, we must do so.”


The maritime and port hydrogen ecosystem presented to the greatest number of people

The Region of Brittany and BDI took advantage of the exhibition offered by the Route du Rhum village to present hydrogen applied to a port and maritime ecosystem in an entertaining way. From offshore wind turbines to recharging stations and use in maritime decarbonisation, young and old alike were able to learn about the many possible applications of renewable hydrogen, always with the same objective in mind: to achieve our energy transition objectives.


maquette de l'écosystème h2 maritime et portuaire