Axpo and SGV to pioneer hydrogen passenger vessel on Swiss Lake Lucerne

Swiss renewable energy company Axpo has become a shareholder in compatriot H2Uri AG, a company building the first green hydrogen production plant in central Switzerland. The hydrogen produced at this plant will be used to power the first hydrogen passenger vessel operated by Lake Lucerne Navigation Company (SGV) on Lake Lucerne.

SGV's MS Saphir. Courtesy of Axpo

In addition to Axpo and SGV, EWA-energieUri and AVIA Schätzle are involved in this project that aims to commence hydrogen production in Bürglen in 2025.

Preparatory work at the Bürglen hydropower plant for the hydrogen production plant has already begun, the partners said. When in operation, the facility on the EWA-energie Uri site in Bürglen will produce up to 260 tonnes of green hydrogen a year and have a capacity of 2 MW. 

As explained, the hydrogen produced at this plant will be used to power the first hydrogen passenger vessel on Lake Lucerne.

Swiss shipbuilder Shiptec AG was selected for the planning, authorization, and conversion of the vessel, MS Saphir, which belongs to SGV.

SGV Managing Director Stefan Schulthess said: “Conversion of the MS Saphir to a hydrogen fuel cell system will be completed by autumn 2025. This will enable us to reduce CO2 emissions.”

The project is also supported by Switzerland’s Federal Office of Transport (FOT).

Axpo CEO Christoph Brand commented on the project: “Even if hydrogen is still a young technology the project shows that there is also potential for the targeted use of green hydrogen in Switzerland. Thanks to our local roots and expertise in renewable energies, we can do pioneering work here.” 

EWA-energieUri CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of H2Uri AG, Werner Jauch, said: “In order to secure this innovative project on a broader basis, we’re delighted to welcome two additional partners in Axpo and SGV. They both have valuable expertise and exciting sales channels.”

AVIA Schätzle Executive Board member Alexander Streitzig added that a hydrogen refueling station is also planned in Uri and that the company is looking forward to expanding its energy source portfolio with green hydrogen.

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