Innovation That Matters

Research demonstrated however that there was more potential in using hydrogen for cargo transport | Photo source Flagships

'World’s first' hydrogen-operated, commercial cargo transport vessel

Mobility & Transport

Located on the River Seine in France, the 165ft long vessel is the product of the European Flagships project

Spotted: Back in 2018, the Flagships project began a project that would see two hydrogen vessels deployed in France and Norway, after they won €5 million from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, under the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU). 

The 165ft long French vessel, which is owned by inland water transport company Compagnie Fluvial de Transport (CFT), will move goods on containers and pallets along the Seine, operating on compressed hydrogen produced from electrolysis. 

The vessel was originally planned to be a hydrogen push boat located in Lyon. Research demonstrated however that there was more potential in using hydrogen for cargo transport. Matthieu Blanc, Director of CFT (a subsidiary of the Sogestran Group) has stated that: “The demand for more sustainable technologies in inland waterway transport is on the rise. As part of the Flagships project, we are happy to be leading the way on reducing emissions from transport and demonstrating the superior features of hydrogen fuel cells in waterborne applications.”

Already in action in Belgium are the three Sogestran Group’s “Zulu” concept cargo vessels. The vessel being placed in Paris, however, will have a hydrogen power generation system, supplied by ABB Marine & Ports, with fuel cells from Ballard. The hydrogen will be provided by suppliers in the Paris region. Scheduled for September 2021, the plan is to have it running on hydrogen by the end of 2021. Two more vessels are also under construction. 

Written By: Holly Hamilton

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