New zero-emission hydrogen-powered vessel to ship goods on Rhine

Dutch shipowner Future Proof Shipping (FPS), the EU-funded Flagships project and the Interreg-funded ZEM Ports NS project have launched H2 Barge 2, a hydrogen-powered vessel that, according to the parties, will ship goods completely emission-free on the Rhine between Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and Duisburg, Germany.

Courtesy of Future Proof Shipping

The parties explained that the vessel, formerly Fenny 1 and FPS Waal, was built as a conventionally powered containership, and during 2023, it was stripped of all combustion engines and fossil fuel tanks at Holland Shipyards Group (HSG) in Werkendam.

Now, the vessel has a completely new 100% emission-free propulsion system including PEM fuel cells, hydrogen storage, battery packs and an electric drive train installed below deck, the parties noted, adding that six fuel cells from Ballard Power Systems raise the total power installed to 1,2 MW.

The H2 Barge 2 is the first of two demonstrators in the EU-funded Flagships project and the second demonstrator of the ZEM Ports NS project.

It is expected to reduce 3.000 tons of CO2 annually when sailing the Rhine.

Richard Klatten, CEO of Future Proof Shipping, said: “This is another proud moment for us, it proves moving cargo with zero emissions and zero impact is not only possible, it’s scalable too. Successfully launching our second hydrogen-powered inland cargo vessel is just as important an achievement as the first, not just for Future Proof Shipping, ZEM Ports NS and the Flagships project, but for the future of green shipping. This vessel now sets the standard for inland shipping and beyond.”

Mirela Atanasiu, Executive Director ad interim of Clean Hydrogen Partnership, commented: “Inland waterways are important for freight transport in Europe, and we are thrilled to see a high-power container vessel being converted to zero-emission. The H2 Barge 2 will bring knowledge on how to retrofit vessels from diesel combustion to zero-emission alternatives, by using batteries in combination with green hydrogen in a fuel cell. I am proud to see that our funding contributes to the decarbonization of freight transport in the European Union.”

Ada Jakobsen, the CEO of Maritime CleanTech, noted: “This project proves collaboration across borders and companies is key to making the green shift in shipping happen. Getting new hydrogen vessels into operation is important if we are to speed up the green maritime transition. Together, we’re building new future fuel value chains crucial to meeting fast-approaching climate goals.”

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To note, the second demonstrator vessel in the Flagships project, Zulu 06, will be deployed in Paris in 2024, according to the parties.

As for the first hydrogen-powered zero-emissions inland container ship H2 Barge 1, Future Proof Shipping (FPS) launched it in Rotterdam, the Netherlands at the beginning of 2023.