Hydrogen vessel Antonie

Collaboration enables Damen to lead hydrogen introduction

Seven partners from the inland shipping industry join in the WEVA project, resulting in the construction of the first hydrogen powered inland cargo vessel Antonie at Concordia Damen. Stimulating further research into the potential of emission free fuels, Damen co-operates with the Delft Technical University and many other parties.

Collaboration has a vital role in achieving the sustainability goals that Damen Shipyards has set. The shipbuilder has always been an integrator of people, innovations and organisations. In this framework, the current ongoing energy transition presents the industry with many opportunities to develop zero emission ships and new transport solutions. As a shipbuilding company, rather than a research institute, Damen has the need to bring supply and demand together. The fast-moving energy transition is accelerating to an even quicker pace, and this requires collaboration with universities, research institutes, fellow companies and customers.

Clear choice
Designing for sustainability is particularly important as it involves the entire lifecycle of every vessel. So we believe in integrating sustainability as early as possible into the design of our vessels and taking the transition to the circular economy seriously. We all need to be responsible for the products that we put on to the market and we are doing just that by keeping ownership and responsibility, offering maritime solutions as a service to our customers and stimulating the transition to new technologies by showing how the sustainable solution is also from a business point of view the obvious choice.

Nothing is off the table when it comes to identifying technologies that can contribute to the elimination of fossil fuels and the ultimate achievement of a circular economy. Last year, we accelerated the pace of our business development and our search for new markets and this resulted in the identification of many new business prospects and the discovery of new innovations with potential benefits for the future. This has resulted, among other things, in the construction of ‘Waterstof Elektrisch Vrachtschip Antonie’(WEVA), the hydrogen electric cargo vessel Antonie. A lot of industry partner join in the project. 

The vessel is built to transport salt. The inland shipping co-operation NPRC has granted the contract to ship salt to the Nobian chemical plant in Delfzijl, in the far north of the Netherlands. The factory that produces chlorine and lye from the salt. A secondary product that results from this chemical process, is hydrogen. This is now delivered to the transporting vessel Antonie – that will dock for unloading at the factory. Finding this close loop has opened the possibility to employ hydrogen as a fuel for inland shipping. This first real life application will result in experience and data, that may accelerate the adaptation of hydrogen in shipping.  All of the companies mentioned are partners in the project. Harm Lenten is to be the owner of the ship under construction, Koedood Marine Group, HyEnergy TransStore, Nedstack Fuel Cell Technology are other partnes with Damen in this pioneering project.

Even before industry introduction of hydrogen as a marine fuel, Damen has been a partner of the TU Delft Hydro Motion Team since its earliest days. Since then the multi-disciplinary collective of students and Damen engineers has made significant advancements in the development of zero emissions propulsion.  

TU Delft and Damen share the same vision of a future where vessels of all types are powered using sustainable technology, but the scope of Damen’s activities means that we take it to its logical conclusion, looking ahead to a time when all aspects of water-based transport and infrastructure are sustainable throughout their lifecycles.

Mutual learning
Damen supports the TU Delft Hydro Motion Team in two important ways. In combination with financial sponsorship, experience is shared. Regular consultations with the design team and also collaboration on design topics show the students the way in which the industry works, and enlighten the engineers with the fresh approach from the students. Expertise in shipbuilding and construction is especially useful to provide insights into the design philosophy as well as practical information on how to build a vessel. In return, Damen gains new knowledge about the challenges of working with hydrogen and the electronic solutions that go with it.

Like all good partnerships, both sides gain from each other’s experiences and we look forward to carrying on our partnership with TU Delft Hydro Motion Team into what promises to be a cleaner and greener future. While the Hydro Motion Team is small and experimental, the Antonie is big and real. March 30 this year, the keel for this 135 meter inland ship was laid at Concordia Damen in Werkendam. Dutch transport secretary Mark Harbers fired the opening shot.  The vessel will start operations mid 2023.

‘The first hydrogen powered inland vessel will be a testcase and an accelerator for further adaptation of hydrogen’

Damen is determined to become the world’s most sustainable shipbuilder. In order to achieve that, we want to both share our knowledge with the industry as a whole, and also encourage smaller, highly motivated groups such as TU Delft Hydro Motion Team to ensure that both achieve their maximum potential and recognition. As part of their drive to attain leadership in sustainability, Damen has publicly committed to achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at all of the issues where we can have an impact. Together,  these goals commit Damen to achieve a sustainable organisation, sustainable operations and an ethos of always designing for sustainability.

Team Hydro Motion from TU Delft in action at the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge
Team Hydro Motion from TU Delft in action at the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge

Damen Shipyards Group
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I     www.damen.com

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