As of today, a momentous change in inland shipping is visible in the waters of Rotterdam. Holland Shipyards Group has redelivered the “H2 Barge 1” to Future Proof Shipping; the first hydrogen-powered inland vessel in the world! The “H2 Barge 1” was officially introduced to the industry with a festive gathering on the Maasboulevard in Rotterdam. From today on, she will spend her operational life between Rotterdam and Antwerp.
In August 2022, the vessel arrived at the Holland Shipyards Group yard and the retrofit began. Retrofitting a conventional vessel to a hydrogen vessel has never been done before and that makes this project truly innovative and unique. A major step forward in making inland shipping more sustainable, which hopefully inspires others to walk this path as well.
Lloyd’s Register was involved for the classification of the vessel, and since there is no comprehensive framework of rules, the retrofit has been performed on a risk-based approach. This required extensive communication between all disciplines, but also resulted in the best possible design, from a safety standpoint.
The existing drivetrain was removed from the vessel, after which all systems are amended to suit the new drivetrain and H2 installation. The engine room and bow thruster room were modified to accommodate electrical switchboards and battery rooms, and inside the cargo hold the 3 fuel cell areas were constructed. Oechies Elektrotechniek was responsible for the entire electrical system, Power Management System and Alarm and Monitoring System. Koedood Marine Group delivered the Nedstack fuelcell package and the integration on board.
While the retrofit concerned mainly new systems, also the existing engine room systems and other on-board systems were overhauled / maintained. For example, the cooling system was adjusted for the new lay-out and all ventilation systems were modified.
Today “H2 Barge 1” is equipped with a 800 kW electric motor, powered by a 750 VDC-bus. The DC-bus is fed by three fuel cells, each with a maximum power of 300 kW and 1037 kWh Lithium-Ion batteries. 900 kg’s sustainably generated hydrogen is contained in two 40-foot containers, under a pressure of 300 bar.
The road to today was not an easy one. The road leading up to today is clear testament to this. The entire journey from idea and initial plans to final approval and delivery of the vessel took 5 long years. A process in which HSG was fortunate to be introduced relatively early. The entire time it has been a cooperation between companies that recognize the need to improve on our impact on this planet, and of companies that are not afraid to stick their necks out and innovate.
Travelling down a road of which the final destination is not yet clear is only possible if all cooperating partners have the same approach, characterized by guts, perseverance and, above all: Action.
The same applies to the charterer of this vessel: BCTN on behalf of Nike EMEA. Like FPS and HSG, Nike is driven to push the boundaries of sustainable innovation. Not just by thinking, but by doing. “H2 Barge 1” ensures that Nike's logistics movements between Antwerp and Rotterdam will now be emission-free.
We are extremely proud and grateful that we were able to realize this breakthrough in the maritime industry together with FPS as a client and all other parties involved!