World’s first hydrogen-powered cargo vessel set for Paris debut

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 within this year.

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 Flagships project was awarded €5 million (US$5.95 million) in 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. However, the Flagships partners said that the demo pusher was changed to an inland cargo vessel as the broader potential for hydrogen in cargo transport emerged.

The new vessel will be tasked with moving goods on pallets and in containers along the river Seine.

The vessel will operate on compressed hydrogen produced from electrolysis, enabling zero-emission operations, but also creating a solid base for more local zero-emission transport, both at sea and on land. The power generation system will be supplied by ABB Marine and Ports, with fuel cells from Ballard.

LMG Marin is responsible for detail design drawings, with hydrogen provided by suppliers in the Paris region.

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