Zero-emissions barge in world first

The H2 Barge 1 is the first vessel to have an A-zero emissions rating

Dutch shipping company Future Proof Shipping (FPS) has launched the first hydrogen-powered zero-emissions inland container ship (writes Nick Flaherty).

The H2 Barge 1 was developed in partnership with sports company Nike and the BCTN Network of Inland Terminals. The 110 m-long, 11.45 m-wide ship will sail between Rotterdam and BCTN’s inland terminal in Meerhout several times a week.

This is the first vessel to truly qualify as zero emissions with an A-zero rating. It was retrofitted with six FCwave fuel cell modules from Ballard that provide 1.2 MW of power.

FPS and the Port of Rotterdam have also launched an infrastructure programme to support 50 such emissions-free vessels by 2030.

The Condor H2 project will provide fuel cells with a battery pack as well as hydrogen storage on a pay-per-use basis to enable ships to operate emissions-free with limited upfront investments for ship owners. The hydrogen will be delivered in ‘tanktainers’ that can be easily loaded onto vessels and quickly swapped when empty. 

The goal is to have the first vessels with the Condor H2 system sailing in 2025. The project includes 40 organisations including fuel cell maker Ballard and hydrogen suppliers Air Products, Linde and INEOS, as well as Blue H Engineering.

“Hydrogen is already being tested in shipping, but the time has come to take action towards large-scale implementation,” said Nico van Dooren, director of new business of the Port of Rotterdam. “By offering a modular, scalable and affordable solution, Condor H2 will make it technically and economically feasible to switch to zero-emissions shipping on the key shipping routes in north-west Europe.”

The project is part of the RH2INE network, a cooperation between ports, regional governments and companies along the Rhine corridor, ranging from Belgium and the Netherlands up to Switzerland.