Ponant Partnering with FARWIND Energy to Develop Hydrogen Refueling Capabilities


Sarah Kuta

by Sarah Kuta
Last updated: 1:40 PM ET, Thu March 28, 2024

WHY IT RATES: A luxury cruise line is taking steps to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.—Sarah Kuta, TravelPulse writer


In the brand’s ongoing initiatives to find ways to decarbonize, and thus contribute to the maritime industry’s energy transition, PONANT announces a collaboration with the Nantes-based startup FARWIND Energy to develop innovative solutions for ship refueling with renewable hydrogen. 

PONANT and FARWIND Energy have defined a road map to develop the production and use of renewable marine hydrogen, where the companies will share progress on the management of hydrogen on board and collaborate on development of first-use cases and overcoming potential technological obstacles. The two partners have set a goal to commission both PONANT’s Swap2Zero project and FARWIND’s first energy ship at the same time by 2030.

A company with a mission, based in Nantes and the Caribbean, FARWIND Energy develops cutting edge solutions to enable renewable energy to be supplied as close as possible to its point of consumption and in a form adapted to the requirements. Its energy ship technology aims to produce electricity at sea from offshore wind and transform it into hydrogen by the electrolysis of seawater. The hydrogen can be transported to shore to be used as a fuel, a solution particularly well suited to island territories, or refueling of a ship can take place at sea, helping accelerate the maritime transport industry’s energy transition.

By 2030, PONANT is working on one of the sector’s most innovative R&D projects. Swap2Zero is the first concept of a transoceanic vessel aiming to approach, as far as state-of-the-art technology will allow, carbon neutrality, whether sailing, maneuvering, in port or at anchor. There are several initiatives to move forward with this ground-breaking project. Wind power is at the heart of the project and low-temperature fuel cells operating on liquid hydrogen for propulsion are also being studied. The project aims to be a catalyst for new energy solutions with strong replicability potential for the rest of the industry.

“FARWIND Energy’s hydrogen production technology has the advantage of offering hydrogen refueling solutions in places where there are no means of production and supply. This collaboration is an opportunity to jointly develop a major project that associates a ship with her own source of renewable energy produced locally. It is an unprecedented revolutionary approach that makes total sense,”  explains Mathieu Petiteau, Newbuilding and R&D Director at PONANT. “The Swap2Zero programme is the ideal demonstrator to scale up this solution and set new standards. This technological building block will be integrated into our other areas of R&D to support our decarbonization strategy.”

“We are proud to share our roadmap with PONANT, an innovative company committed to low carbon navigation. This collaboration opens up new perspectives for our highly innovative renewable energy production technology. Capable of being produced near the ship’s operating areas, our liquid hydrogen represents a promising solution to decarbonize maritime transport,” explains Arnaud Poitou, Chairman of FARWIND Energy.


Source: Ponant and FARWIND Energy press release


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