First Newbuild Inland Hydrogen Cargo Vessel Prepares to Enter Service

The first newly built hydrogen-powered vessel,built by the Dutch shipyard Concordia Damen for the national river shipping company Lenten Scheepvaart, is preparing to enter service. The vessel recently completed technical sea trials and received a provisional certificate.

Named the Antonie, The new river vessel is 135 meters long, approximately 3,700 tons, and is equipped with hydrogen fuel cell propulsion. The power generated by the hydrogen fuel cell will be converted into electricity to drive the vessel, comparing to traditional river shipping that relies on diesel. The fuel cell has reportedly already been installed on the ship. The hydrogen container is expected to arrive and be installed by the end of this year, and the ship will then be ready for operation.

When the vessel enters service, it will operate under charter to Nobian, an industrial chemical company spun out from Nouryon (the former specialty chemical business of AkzoNobel), transporting salt from Delfzijl in the Netherlands to the Nobian plant in the Botlek. The company turns salt into chlor-alkali, among other things, with hydrogen as a residual product. The hydrogen produced in the chlor-alkali production process will be used as fuel for the Antonie.

Shipowner Lenten is reported to have received a US$5 million subsidy from the Dutch government for the construction of this new vessel. The subsidy is intended to promote the development of hydrogen fuel applications to achieve zero emissions in inland waterways shipping.

The concept of this new vessel is part of the WEVA project development to improve the sustainability of inland waterway shipping.Kees de Vries, WEVA project leader, said, “This hydrogen-powered vessel will help achieve a major breakthrough in the energy transition of the maritime industry.” The head added: “A second and third hydrogen-powered vessel is already under development.”

In addition to the Antonie, several projects are converting existing vessels in the Netherlands and the Benelux region to hydrogen. The port of Rotterdam is also working with Damen and others in the development of hydrogen and the infrastructure at the port to support it as an alternative fuel.

Earlier this year, the retrofit to install hydrogen fuel cells on the first inland containership was completed in the Netherlands. Compagnie Maritime Belgique (CMB) launched the first hydrogen-powered crew transfer vessel in 2022 and the Port of Antwerp is currently preparing for the introduction of a hydrogen-fueled tugboat.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding

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