France – The European innovation project Flagships will deploy the world’s first commercial cargo transport vessel operating on hydrogen, on the river Seine in Paris.
Commercial operations are set to start in 2021. The hydrogen cargo transport vessel will be owned by French inland shipowner Compagnie Fluvial de Transport (CFT), a subsidiary of the Sogestran Group.
“Ships powered by renewable hydrogen will make a substantial contribution to reducing emissions from shipping and improving air quality in cities and other densely populated areas,” said Flagships Project Coordinator Jyrki Mikkola from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.
Hydrogen gaining momentum
The Flagships project was awarded EUR 5 million of funding in 2018 from the EU’s Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020, under the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), to deploy two hydrogen vessels in France and Norway. The project’s initial plan was to deploy a hydrogen push-boat in the Lyon area, but as the broader potential for hydrogen in cargo transport emerged, the demo pusher was changed to an inland cargo vessel. The new vessel will be tasked with moving goods on pallets and in containers along the river Seine.
The vessel will operate on compressed hydrogen produced from electrolysis, enabling not only zero-emission operations, but also creating a solid base for more local zero-emission transport, both at sea and on land. The power generation system for Zulu will be supplied by ABB Marine & Ports, with fuel cells from Ballard. LMG Marin is responsible for detail design.
The Flagships consortium includes 11 European partners, with two shipowners, Norled (NO) and CFT (FR) assisted by its support company Sogestion (FR) and Sogestran (FR); the maritime OEM and integrator companies ABB Marine & Ports (FI) and Westcon Power & Automation (NO); and ship design company LMG Marin (NO & FR). World-leading fuel cell technology is provided by Ballard Europe (DK), with vessel energy monitoring and management by Pers-EE (FR). Management and dissemination activities are provided by VTT (FI) and NCE Maritime CleanTech (NO), respectively.