Hazard Identification of Hydrogen-Based Alternative Fuels Onboard Ships

E.S. Van Rheenen*, E.L. Scheffers, J.J. Zwaginga, K. Visser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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It is essential to use alternative fuels if we are to reach the emission reduction targets set by the IMO. Hydrogen carriers are classified as zero-emission, while having a higher energy density (including packing factor) than pure hydrogen. They are often considered as safe alternative fuels. The exact definition of what safety entails is often lacking, both for hydrogen carriers as well as for ship safety. The aim of this study is to review the safety of hydrogen carriers from two perspectives, investigating potential connections between the chemical and maritime approaches to safety. This enables a reasoned consideration between safety aspects and other design drivers in ship design and operation. The hydrogen carriers AB, NaBH4, KBH4 and two LOHCs (NEC and DBT) are taken into consideration, together with a couple reference fuels (ammonia, methanol and MDO). After the evaluation of chemical properties related to safety and the scope of the current IMO safety framework, it can be concluded that safety remains a vague and non-explicit concept from both perspectives. Therefore, further research is required to prove the safe application of hydrogen carriers onboard ships.
Original languageEnglish
Article number16818
Number of pages21
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • safety
  • hydrogen carriers
  • Hazard identification
  • marine transportation
  • Marine engineering
  • Alternative Fuels
  • Methanol
  • Ammonia


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