Nov 17, 2023 | Marine environment & clean shipping news

What is said to be the world’s first newbuild hydrogen-powered inland shipping vessel, owned by Dutch company Lenten Scheepvaart, has successfully undertaken initial sea trials, an event considered as an important step towards zero-emission transport on Dutch inland waterways.

The WEVA (Hydrogen Electric Cargo Ship) Antonie was realised by Concordia Damen. Following technical sea trials at which Lloyd’s Register was present, a provisional certificate to be put into service was granted. With the hydrogen containers, expected to arrive by the end of 2023, not yet installed on board, full attention was given to testing the advanced diesel-electric propulsion system.

Bart van Driel, project manager Concordia Damen said: “The fuel cell will soon serve as an energy supplier for the battery packs after the installation of the distribution panel and the placement of the hydrogen containers. The fuel cell itself, which converts hydrogen into electricity, has already been installed on board. Once the distribution panel is delivered, it is just a matter of sizing and manufacturing the final pieces of piping and adjusting the fuel cell installation itself. The diesel generator will then no longer be used, so the Antonie will sail completely emission-free.”

Pieter Baggerman, Naval Architect Concordia Damen said: “We look forward to the Antonie being able to sail her first fully emission-free miles before the end of the year.”

The dry cargo vessel will transport salt for chemical company Nobian. Lenten Scheepvaart has shipped salt from Delfzijl to the Nobian plant in the Botlek for a long period. The company turns this salt into chlor-alkali, among other things, with hydrogen as a residual product. The hydrogen produced in the production process will form the clean fuel for the Antonie – considered a textbook example of a circular chain. With three hydrogen containers on board, Antonie will be able to provide full zero-emission transport along the Delfzijl-Rotterdam-Delfzijl route. A hydrogen bunker station has now been built in Delfzijl funded through a subsidy.

Concordia Damen says that it has built up a considerable portfolio in building sustainable inland waterway vessels, picking up various environmental awards. The WEVA project is a joint effort by Concordia Damen Shipbuilding in collaboration with CCM3, Nedstack Fuel Cell Technology, Nobian, Energy TransStore, NRPC and Lenten Scheepvaart, among others. Its realisation has been made possible in part by a grant from the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

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