Photo: Courtesy of FPS

FPS joins Flagships to expand green hydrogen-fueled fleet

Dutch marine transportation service provider Future Proof Shipping (FPS) has joined European innovation project Flagships to bring the FPS Waal, a hydrogen-fueled inland container vessel, to Europe.

FPS joins Flagships to expand green hydrogen-fueled fleet
Courtesy of FPS

With the addition of the FPS Waal, Future Proof Shipping says it will strengthen the Flagships consortium and expand its green hydrogen-fueled fleet. Collaborative operations will start this year with the vessel sailing on green hydrogen by summer 2023.

The Flagships wants to raise the readiness of zero-emission marine transport to a new level. It wants to do so by deploying two commercially operated zero-emission hydrogen vessels in the coming years.

FPS will work closely with fuel cell technology experts Ballard, ship design company LMG Marin, and project coordinators VTT. Together, they will work to complete the engineering, fuel cell provision, and safety studies required for the vessel’s approval.

“The demand for more sustainable technologies in inland waterway transport is on the rise. With FPS joining us, we have two groundbreaking vessels as part of the FLAGSHIPS project. We aim to raise the readiness of zero-emission waterborne transport in Europe; this truly brings us closer to reaching our goal,” said Jyrki Mikkola, project coordinator.

The propulsion system for the Waal will need to be optimised to handle the higher energy consumption rates on the Rotterdam to Duisburg section of the Rhine. FPS has already been in discussions with several cargo owners interested in shipping their containers without emissions on this route.

“This route is longer and has significantly higher and varying power demands than the route for the FPS Maas, pushing this project team to elevate their innovation efforts considerably,” said Richard Klatten, CEO of FPS.

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“Inland waterways are important for freight transport in Europe and therefore I am pleased to see a high power container vessel being converted to zero-emission. The FPS Waal conversion will bring knowledge on how to retrofit vessels from diesel combustion to zero-emission alternatives by using battery in combination with green hydrogen in a fuel cell. A key aspect is the replicability of this zero-emission retrofit to similar vessels,” added Bart Biebuyck, executive director of Clean Hydrogen Partnership.

Similar to the FPS Maas, Future Proof Shipping aims to retrofit the Waal to sail 100 per cent emission-free. During the retrofit, they will remove the internal combustion engine. Then, it will be replaced by the new zero-emissions propulsion system. This includes PEM fuel cells, hydrogen storage, battery packs, and an electric drive train.