The Dutch zero-emissions vessel owner Future Proof Shipping (FPS) has joined Flagships, a European innovation project, to bring its second zero-emissions inland container vessel, FPS Waal, to Europe’s waterways.
FPS will strengthen the Flagships consortium and expand its green hydrogen-fueled fleet with the addition of the FPS Waal to the project.
“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,” noted Bart Biebuyck, executive director of Clean Hydrogen Partnership.
Collaborative operations are set to commence this year with the vessel sailing on green hydrogen by summer 2023.
The Flagships consortium aims to raise the readiness of zero-emission waterborne transport to an entirely new level by deploying two commercially operated zero-emission hydrogen vessels in the coming years.
Over the coming months, FPS will work closely with fuel cell technology experts Ballard Europe, ship design company LMG Marin, and project coordinators VTT. Together, they will collaborate across a broad range of activities to complete the engineering, fuel cell provision, and safety studies required for the vessel’s approval, by applying and further developing the existing regulatory guidelines.
“The demand for more sustainable technologies in inland waterway transport is on the rise. We aim to raise the readiness of zero-emission waterborne transport in Europe, this truly brings us closer to reaching our goal,” commented Jyrki Mikkola, Flagships Project Coordinator at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.
The power capacity, size and design of the propulsion system for the FPS Waal will need to be optimised to handle the higher energy consumption rates on the Rotterdam to Duisburg section of the Rhine.
Future Proof Shipping has already been in discussions with several cargo owners interested in shipping their containers without emissions on this route and who are aiming to move a large part of their sea cargo to inland water transportation.
“We are deploying our second zero-emissions vessel here to help decarbonise this busy stretch of 240 kilometre inland waterway. 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.
Similar to the FPS Maas, Future Proof Shipping aims to retrofit the FPS Waal to sail 100% emission-free. During the retrofit, the internal combustion engine will be removed, and the new zero-emissions propulsion system including polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells, hydrogen storage, battery packs and an electric drive train will be installed.
The total amount of power installed will be around 1200 kW and the vessel will have a cargo capacity of 200 TEU after the retrofit.