Order Placed for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Powered Inland Barge

hydrogen propulsion for inland shipping
Inland shipping is active in the Port of Rotterdam where both hydrogen project hope to sail (file photo)

Published Jun 2, 2021 4:04 PM by The Maritime Executive

The order was recently placed for the construction of an inland waterway vessel that seeks to become the first to run on hydrogen. To be built by Concordia Damen for the Dutch shipping company Lenten Scheepvaart, it is part of an innovative project that seeks to develop a new generation of zero-emission inland shipping and spur the broader development of hydrogen power for shipping. A similar competing project was also announced in March to retrofit another inland barge to operate on hydrogen.

The newly ordered vessel, to be named MV Antonie, will be 3,700 tons and 442 feet in length. Designed to transport salt between Delfzijl in the north of the Netherlands to Botlek in the Port of Rotterdam, the vessel will use fuel cell propulsion with a new approach to hydrogen storage. It is expected to enter service in 2023. Hydrogen for the vessel will come from the hydrogen plant in Delfzijl.

The concepts for the vessel were developed as part of the Hydrogen Coalition for Inland Shipping launched in the Netherlands. The project is seeking to develop the fuel cell, and key components ranging from the convertors to the connections, interfaces and storage. Researchers for the project have been working on the uncertainties in the size, power, interconnection and operations of the components in the fuel cell electrical configuration developing the battery pack, control systems, connections, alarms and propulsion machinery for the inland vessel.

Concordia Damen CEO Chris Kornet said, “Greening the inland shipping sector is something which we feel passionate about, and we will continue to work towards this goal. 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 Scheepvaart are to be commended for taking this leading role.”

The project is being supported by the Netherlands Governmental department of Infrastructure and Water Management, with the aim to stimulate the development and use of hydrogen as a fuel on the path towards zero emissions inland shipping. The government provided a $4.9 million construction subsidy to Lenten Scheepvaart.

This project is competing with a similar initiative announced in March 2021 in which the Holland Shipyards Group will be refitting a 360-foot inland vessel, Maas, operated by Future Proof Shipping, with hydrogen propulsion. The conversion of the Maas is scheduled to start in the third quarter of 2021 with the vessel expected to be back in service in December.