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Barge gets ready to ship goods emission-free

The new zero-emission and hydrogen-powered cargo vessel H2 Barge 2 is launched on the Rhine.

Transport and Mobility icon Transport and Mobility
Climate Change and Environment icon Climate Change and Environment

Dutch zero-emission shipowner Future Proof Shipping, the EU-funded FLAGSHIPS project and the Interreg-funded ZEM Ports NS project successfully launched the hydrogen-powered vessel H2 Barge 2 on the Rhine River in February 2024. The launch ceremony was held at Holland Shipyard Group’s Werkendam plant outside Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The first of two demonstrators in the FLAGSHIPS project, the barge will provide emission-free cargo transportation between Rotterdam and Duisburg (Germany). “This is another proud moment for us, it proves moving cargo with zero emissions and zero impact is not only possible, it’s scalable too,” stated Future Proof Shipping CEO Richard Klatten in a news item posted on the FLAGSHIPS website. Klatten emphasised the importance of this achievement not only for the stakeholders involved but also for the future of green shipping. “This vessel now sets the standard for inland shipping and beyond,” the CEO added.

The way to zero emissions

The 109.8-metre-long and 11.4-metre-wide container vessel, formerly known as Fenny 1 and FPS Waal, was built in 1993 as a conventionally powered containership. In 2023, after being stripped of all combustion engines and fossil fuel tanks, it was outfitted with an entirely new 100 % emission-free propulsion system. The system includes polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells, hydrogen storage, battery packs and an electric drive train installed below deck. Six fuel cells from FLAGSHIPS’ Danish project partner Ballard Power Systems Europe increase the total power output to 1.2 MW. Mirela Atanasiu, Executive Director ad interim of Clean Hydrogen Partnership – an undertaking supporting European research and innovation in hydrogen technologies from which FLAGSHIPS has received funding – highlighted the project’s role in furthering the decarbonisation of EU cargo shipping: “Inland waterways are important for freight transport in Europe, we are thrilled to see a high-power container vessel being converted to zero-emission. The H2 Barge 2 will bring knowledge on how to retrofit vessels from diesel combustion to zero-emission alternatives, by using batteries in combination with green hydrogen in a fuel cell. I am proud to see that our funding contributes to the decarbonization of freight transport in the European Union.” As it navigates the Rhine, the H2 Barge 2 is expected to emit 3 000 fewer tonnes of CO2 annually. Since the route between Rotterdam and Duisburg accounts for 80 % of all Rhine cargo flows, the barge serves as proof that emissions can be effectively reduced on this key commercial transportation route. “We’ve been working hard for several years to get to this point. Having the first demonstrator on the Rhine is truly a great achievement by Future Proof Shipping and the rest of the partners. The aim of the Flagships project is to take zero-emission waterborne transport to an entirely new level. Now we’re one important step closer to reaching our goal,” remarks Jyrki Mikkola, a senior scientist at FLAGSHIPS project coordinator VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The FLAGSHIPS (Clean waterborne transport in Europe) project’s second demonstrator vessel will be deployed in Paris in 2024. For more information, please see: FLAGSHIPS project website


FLAGSHIPS, zero-emission, waterborne transport, shipping, cargo, hydrogen, vessel, barge, H2 Barge 2

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