Innovation That Matters

The ship, which contains 20-foot shipping containers, is named the Alphenaar and sails between Alphen aan den Rijn and Moerdijk, its mission being the transportation of beer for HEINEKEN. | Photo source ZES

Fossil fuel-free shipping vessel deployed in the Netherlands

Mobility & Transport

The technology is part of a service package that incorporates exchangeable energy containers, open-access charging infrastructure and a pay-per-use payment concept for vessel owners

Spotted: Netherland-based Zero Emission Services (ZES) is deploying an innovative battery-swapping container ship that uses interchangeable energy containers for propulsion. The method is being referred to as the ZES energy system. 

The ship, which contains 20-foot shipping containers, is named the Alphenaar and sails between Alphen aan den Rijn and Moerdijk, its mission being the transportation of beer for HEINEKEN. 

According to ZES, inland shipping accounts for 5 per cent of the Netherlands total carbon dioxide emissions. By providing an alternative to diesel-powered container ships deployed in these routes, ZES aims to make these operations more sustainable. ZES estimates that their energy system will be responsible for saving around 1,000 tonnes of CO2 and 7 tonnes of NOx per vessel per year. The technology also prevents the production of particulate matter and noise.

In addition, the service makes arrangements for the required charging infrastructure and a pay-per-use construction, which requires skippers to pay for energy only when they need it.

A closer look at the technology reveals the use of energy packs, each equipped with 45 lithium-ion battery modules that generate megawatt hours each, equivalent to the energy capacity of 36 electric cars. The ZES packs work like batteries that can be swapped out for fully charged ones at an exchange station in as little as 15 minutes. 

Having recently signed a 10-year partnership with Heineken to help ship beer around the Netherlands, ZES hopes to scale up in the near future to eight vessels, eight loading stations, and fourteen ZES packs. ZES would like to have 30 zero-emission shipping routes by 2030, which would save up to 360,000 tonnes of CO2 and 2,800 tonnes of nitrogen oxide. In order to compete with fossil fuels, ZES recognises that unified efforts from “the government, ports and terminals as well as the business community are required.” 

Written By: Katrina Lane

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