For the first time, an inland navigation vessel is being built in the Netherlands that sails entirely on hydrogen. The 135-metre cargo ship Antonie is expected to be launched in 2023. Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (Infrastructure and Water Management) is setting aside four million euros for the development and construction.
Hydrogen can be produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity. How sustainable hydrogen is as an energy source depends on the way the electricity is generated. A ship that sails on hydrogen does not emit any harmful substances.
‘Sailing on hydrogen is now no longer an idea on the drawing board,’ notes the Minister with satisfaction. ‘By building this ship and sailing it, we will learn in practice what is needed to use hydrogen safely and on a larger scale in our inland navigation sector.’ She calls this ‘a very nice step forward towards inland navigation without emissions’.
Lenten Scheepvaart from Nieuwegein will build the 3700-tonne vessel. When it is ready, it will transport salt from the Nouryon plant in Delfzijl to the Botlek in Rotterdam.
In terms of greening, the shipping sector still has a long way to go. By 2050, the entire inland navigation sector must be made emission-free. To bring that goal closer, the sector signed a so-called Green Deal with the government in 2019. Banks, ports and knowledge institutions are also involved.