Hydrogen fuel cargo ship retrofit offers clean energy solution for shipping

Hydrogen fuel cargo ship retrofit offers clean energy solution for shipping

March 15, 2024 0 By Angie Bergenson

The container vessel powered by H2 could demonstrate zero-emission shipping

Future Proof Shipping has retrofitted a hydrogen fuel cargo ship now called the H2 Barge 2 to demonstrate how the industry can ship goods all over the world with zero carbon emissions.

The container vessel was retrofitted to be powered by H2

The hydrogen fuel cargo ship will operate on the Rhine River and will travel between The Netherlands and Germany. This version of the vessel will produce considerably reduced carbon dioxide pollution than similar vessels making the same journey.

The H2 Barge 2 from Future Proof Shipping is powered by H2 and is intended to show the short-haul shipping industry a promising way to decarbonize. That said, over time, the influence of this demonstration could move into longer-haul vessels as well.

One hydrogen fuel cargo ship could reduce 3,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year

According to data published in the American Journal of Transportation, the vessel could slash 3,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year. That same report also indicated that the H2 Barge 2 is proof that vessels traveling along the Rhine are able to be “fully zero emission already today,” assuming that they were retrofitted or originally designed to run on H2.

Previously powered by fossil fuels

The H2 Barge 2 was previously powered by fossil fuels and chugged out carbon dioxide among other greenhouse gases in its exhaust.  Following the conversion, it is powered by H2 which provides it with clean energy.

Hydrogen fuel cargo ship - H2 b and boat

The hydrogen fuel cargo ship is equipped with proton exchange membrane fuel cells, battery packs, H2 storage, and an electric drivetrain. Together, they power the vessel without resulting in CO2 emissions. There are six fuel cells in total, providing 1.2 megawatts of potential power.

The importance of water-based freight transport to Europe

European countries rely on freight transportation using inland waterways.  This zero-emission vessel shows that this type of shipping is possible without having to rely on polluting fossil fuels, explained Mirela Atanasiu, the Clean Hydrogen Partnership executive director ad interim.

This is only the first of what is hoped to be many similar vessels. A second hydrogen fuel cargo ship will soon launch in Paris as well, under the Flagships project in the EU and its plan to “take zero-emission waterborne transport to an entirely new level.” That vessel, the Zulu 06, will travel along the Sein and will begin later this year.

Closing thoughts

hydrogen news ebookProvided these vessels are powered by green hydrogen produced using electrolysis powered by renewable electricity, this type of transport strategy has the potential to substantially decarbonize inland shipping in Europe.

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