Media release

Partners cast off for study on zero-emissions hydrogen shipping

22 Jul 2019 - News

Sailing from Nouryon’s locations in Delfzijl, the Netherlands to Rotterdam on green hydrogen instead of gas oil; this sustainable option is being explored by a partnership of Nouryon, Europe’s largest inland shipping cooperative NPRC, and NPRC member firm Lenten Scheepvaart. With the study, they aim to demonstrate that zero-emission transport by water is possible.

The partners will study the feasibility of a new inland vessel that can sail on 100% green hydrogen, which is produced locally by Nouryon using renewable electricity. “This is how we create the clean fuel for transporting part of our own products – a sustainable win-win,” said Knut Schwalenberg, Managing Director Industrial Chemicals at Nouryon. 

The intention is for the vessel, MS Antonie, to use green hydrogen to transport salt, which is used to manufacture chlorine and caustic soda. “Hydrogen as a fuel is currently more expensive than other fuels,” said Harm Lenten, owner of Lenten Scheepvaart. “But as technology progresses, it will become increasingly attractive and that makes this first step so important.” 

The project is part of the broader Hydrogen Coalition Inland Shipping initiative, whereby shippers and inland shipping cooperatives PTC and NPRC are committed to making shipping more sustainable. 

“This is the first step towards zero emissions,” said Stefan Meeusen, Director of NPRC. “The technology is available, and the three companies have the power to show that it is possible – more sustainable water transport.” 

Hydrogen is available in Delfzijl and Rotterdam, is completely clean and has no emissions other than water. The initiative is part of the ‘Green Deal’ of the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, which includes initiatives for low-carbon shipping. The Minister has made €15 million in subsidies available for the inland shipping sector to stimulate innovation. 

Water transport per tonne transported weight over a kilometer is generally less impactful than other forms of transport. The NPRC, in collaboration with shippers, is also investigating alternatives other than hydrogen for making inland vessels more sustainable, such as bio-fuels, clean combustion engines and electrification of ships. 

A hydrogen ship can make a huge breakthrough in the energy transition for the maritime world, and the partners say that if the upcoming test is successful, more hydrogen ships are likely to follow.

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