Photo: Concordia Damen

Damen secures order for hydrogen-powered inland vessel

Dutch shipyard Concordia Damen has signed a ‘historic’ contract for the construction of the hydrogen-powered inland barge with Dutch inland shipping company Lenten Scheepvaart.

As disclosed, the 135-metre vessel will weigh 3,700 tons and feature a hydrogen fuel cell propulsion.

The vessel, to be named Antonie van Lenten, will transport salt from the Nouryon salt factory in Delfzijl in the north of Netherlands to the Botlek in the Port of Rotterdam.

The new inland vessel is expected to be launched by 2023.

Concordia Damen CEO Chris Kornet commented: “I believe there will not be one single way to reduce emissions in our sector, but a number of approaches. Hydrogen is likely to play an important role in the achievement of zero emissions in inland shipping.”

Lenten has received a grant for the construction of the ship worth almost $5 million. The subsidy from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management aims to stimulate the development of the use of hydrogen as a fuel on the way to emission-free inland shipping. 

This is Netherlands’ first hydrogen powered inland cargo ship, according to the ministry.

The concepts for the vessel were developed as part of the WEVA project aiming to improve the sustainability of inland shipping.

“With a hydrogen vessel, a huge breakthrough in the energy transition can be achieved for the maritime world,” said Kees de Vries, project leader of the WEVA project.

De Vries added that “a second and third ship are already under development”.

The project, in which the engine supplier Koedood Marine Group and fuel cell producer Nedstack are involved in addition to the shipowner and transporter, is supervised by inland shipping cooperative NPRC.

Nouryon will supply the green hydrogen. 

In the recent period, hydrogen-powered vessels are gaining ground as a possible zero-emission solution for inland transport in Europe.

Last month, the European innovation project Flagships revealed it was working on the world’s first commercial cargo transport vessel operating on hydrogen.

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The ship will be an inland vessel, set to fly the river Seine in Paris, and is scheduled for delivery in September 2021. It will be fitted with by hydrogen power generation system, i.e., hydrogen fuel cells.

The Flagships project was awarded EUR 5 million in 2018 from the EU’s Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020, under the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), to deploy two hydrogen vessels in France and Norway.

The project’s initial plan was to deploy a hydrogen push-boat in the Lyon area, but as the broader potential for hydrogen in cargo transport emerged, the demo pusher was changed to an inland cargo vessel. 

The new vessel will be tasked with moving goods on pallets and in containers along the river Seine.