BureauVeritas #BV, a world leader in testing, inspection andcertification, has launched its first classification Rulesfor hydrogen-fuelled ships (NR678) to support the safedevelopment of hydrogen propulsion in the maritime sector. 

The rules outline technical requirements for the safebunkering, storage, preparation, distribution, and useof hydrogen as fuel for power generation on board.Monitoring and control systems are also covered,addressing specific safety challenges relating to thetransport and use of hydrogen on ships, such as highflammability, as well as the need to store the fuel invery high pressure or low temperature conditions.

BV’s Rules for hydrogen-fuelled ships aim to mitigate the risk of hydrogen leakage, fire or explosion, withdetailed requirements for machinery and engine design, as well as the vessel’s configuration and thearrangement of fuel tanks and other systems on board. They also include prescriptions for the ventilation ofhazardous areas, venting and pressure relief systems, and monitoring and safety systems including vapourand gas detection.


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NR678 also covers “hydrogen-prepared” vessels, which are designed to be ready for the installation of ahydrogen fuel system at a later stage. 

These classification Rules complement BV’s existing rule note (NR 547) on fuel cell power systems on boardships that was launched in 2022 in response to growing interest in the maritime industry for fuel cells, andcover all types of fuels including hydrogen. BV is currently working on around 10 projects involving hydrogenas a fuel, either as main propulsion source for smaller ships or as an auxiliary power for larger vessels. 

These new rules have been informed by industry feedback and input from a wide range of stakeholders,combined with the land-based hydrogen experience of other divisions within the Bureau Veritas Group.NR678 reflects the latest state of industry knowledge on the use of hydrogen as ship’s fuel and will beperiodically updated, in line with the evolution of the technology, as well as regulatory decisions from FlagStates and at the International Maritime Organization (IMO).


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Issue 88 of Robban Assafina

(Nov./ Dec. 2023)


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