|Where does the name Hydroville come from?
||The name consists of two parts that have specific meanings separately, as well as a new meaning when combined. ‘Hydro’ means ‘water’ in Ancient Greek. ‘Ville’ means ‘city’ in French—all CMB passenger vessels have historically been christened with ‘-ville’ as a suffix in their name. The shuttle is the first passenger shuttle that will transport people since the CMB passenger line to the Congo with vessels such as the Albertville, Leopoldville, Fabiolaville, Anversville and Elisabethville. ‘Hydroville’ literally means ‘Hydrogen City’, which is a reference to the home port of the vessel, Antwerp. There is already considerable knowhow about hydrogen in and around Antwerp. The project, including the Hydroville, will strengthen and further develop this knowhow and make Antwerp the center of hydrogen technology.
|How safe is the Hydroville?
||The ship will be operated by professional and highly trained personnel. The complete design has been closely inspected by the classification society Lloyd’s Register. No compromise has been made regarding safety. During the design process, several risk analyses were performed in which a collision, a fire and even an attack with firearms were contemplated. The industry already has 50 years of experience with hydrogen and every design requirement from the car industry has been taken over in the design of the shuttle. When deemed necessary, stricter requirements were implemented.
|Can we board and sail on the shuttle?
||The shuttle will initially be used to transport colleagues working in the Belgica building to and from the office.
Furthermore the shuttle will also be available for special events.
A formula is being developed to enable third parties to hire the shuttle for company events, business dinners or for a unique tourist trip around the Port of Antwerp. A visit to the windmill parks off the Belgian coast will also be possible.
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|Is there a danger that the hydrogen tanks could become H-bombs?
||A crucial element of a hydrogen bomb is tritium. This is a hydrogen particle with two neutrons in the core. However, this element does not exist naturally and can only be produced in strictly secured laboratories. The hydrogen that Hydroville has on board does not contain any neutrons in the core and can therefore never lead to a nuclear fusion bomb. In addition, you already need a nuclear splitting bomb to reach the required temperature and pressure to detonate a hydrogen bomb (= nuclear fusion bomb).
|Why choose a combustion engine instead of fuel cells or batteries are hyped?
||Battery packs are not yet an option to power the main drive of big seagoing vessels. Due to the considerable power effectively needed to operate a vessel, battery packs are too expensive and take up too much space. The same can be said of fuel cells which convert hydrogen into electricity. Although the technology has been tested in smaller maritime projects, it cannot be transposed to bigger ships. Apart from the cost and insufficient power, fuel cells are sensitive to salty sea air, which compromises their efficiency in a maritime environment.
|Can people visit the hydrogen exhibition?
||All schools that participated in the contest “build the vessel of the future” will be able to visit the exhibition about the shuttle and the use of hydrogen. The exhibition will be open for six months at the offices of CMB, De Gerlachekaai 20 in Antwerp. However, visiting will only be possible after making an appointment.
|Where will the hydrogen come from?
||To fuel the Hydroville, we needed a bunker location in Antwerp on the river Scheldt. The shuttle will be bunkered at the DEME site in Zwijndrecht, where CMB and Air Liquide have built a hydrogen bunker station for ships. The hydrogen is produced locally in a factory in Lillo. All going well, the Hydroville will be refueled with hydrogen daily.