VESSEL REFIT | H2 Barge 1 – Dutch operator adds hydrogen-powered boxship to inland fleet

VESSEL REFIT | H2 Barge 1 – Dutch operator adds hydrogen-powered boxship to inland fleet

Photo: Future Proof Shipping

Dutch shipping company Future Proof Shipping (FPS) recently took delivery of the first hydrogen-powered inland container vessel to be operated in the Netherlands.

The 110- by 11.45-metre H2 Barge 1 was originally built as a conventionally-powered containership for sailings on the Rhine River, but underwent conversion to enable it to operate on hydrogen fuel. The retrofitting work on the former FPS Maas was carried out in compliance to Lloyd’s Register class requirements at the Hardinxveld facilities of local builder the Holland Shipyards Group from August 2022 to earlier this year.

FPS Maas prior to undergoing conversion (Photo: Future Proof Shipping)

The retrofit entailed replacement of the internal combustion technology with hydrogen technology by removing both the main engine and gearbox and installing a new modular propulsion system. The new propulsion arrangement consists of electric motors, hydrogen tanks, a PEM fuel cell system that is essential for converting hydrogen into electricity, and a battery pack. The compressed hydrogen tanks, the fuel cells, and the battery system are separate units that can be removed for maintenance or replacement.

The hydrogen and fuel cell systems are installed in the cargo space of the vessel. The hydrogen is placed above the fuel cell system in two 40-foot containers housing a total quantity of approximately 900 kilograms under a pressure of 300 bar. The hydrogen storage system, as well as the hydrogen fuel itself, was supplied by Air Liquide.

Photo: Future Proof Shipping

The fuel cell system is triple redundant with a total output of 900 kW to supply propulsive and auxiliary power and a 1,037kWh lithium-ion battery pack for peak shaving, secondary, and bridging power. The system contains a 750V DC bus bar and an e-motor for propulsion.

While the retrofit was focused mainly on new systems, the works also included overhauls of the existing engine room systems and other onboard systems. For example, the cooling system was adjusted to adapt to the new layout and all ventilation systems were modified.

Now back in service with a new propulsion arrangement, H2 Barge 1 will be operated by FPS to ship container cargo between Rotterdam and Antwerp via the Meuse River under a charter contract with BCTN, the Nijmegen-based company that manages the main inland container terminal network in the Benelux region. FPS expects the vessel’s operations will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 2,000 tonnes each year.

Photo: Port of Rotterdam

See all the other news, reviews and features of this month’s Marine Engines and Propulsion Systems Week right here.

H2 Barge 1
Type of vessel:Container vessel
Classification:Lloyd’s Register
Owner:Future Proof Shipping, Netherlands
Builder:Holland Shipyards Group, Netherlands
Length overall:110 metres
Beam:11.45 metres
Main engines:3 x 300 kW
Batteries:1,037 kWh
Other equipment installed:Air Liquide fuel storage system
Type of fuel:Hydrogen
Operational area:Meuse River

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