The European innovation project Flagships will deploy the world’s first commercial cargo transport vessel operating on hydrogen, plying the river Seine in Paris. Commercial operations are set to commence 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. The company is currently developing a new business for urban distribution with transport vessels in the Paris area.
“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,” says Matthieu Blanc, director of CFT.
“Green and sustainable shipping is a prerequisite for reaching national and international emission reduction targets. 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,” says Flagships Project Coordinator Jyrki Mikkola from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.
Hydrogen gaining ground
Both the EU and the shipping industry see hydrogen as a key contributor in the efforts to mitigate climate change. 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.