On 25 May, Dutch shipping company Future Proof Shipping (FPS) officially launched the first hydrogen-powered zero-emission inland container ship, H2 Barge 1, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The ship is also the first to receive the A-Zero emission label.

Earlier in the week, Nike introduced the H2 Barge 1 at its European Logistics Campus in Laakdal, Belgium. As part of its journey toward a zero carbon and zero waste future, Nike is partnering with FPS and BCTN Network of Inland Terminals, to accelerate zero-emission shipping.

Future Proof Shipping’s zero-emission container ship measures 110 metres x 11.45 metres. The H2 Barge 1 is chartered by BCTN on behalf of Nike EMEA. The vessel, expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2000 tonnes of CO2e per year, will sail between Rotterdam and BCTN’s inland terminal in Meerhout several times a week.

Also read: FPS joins Flagships project to realise second hydrogen inland container ship


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 three 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 fuel cell 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.

A-zero emission label

The official launch of H2 Barge 1 took place in Rotterdam on 25 May. Dutch Minister of Infrastructure & Water Management in the Netherlands, Mark Harbers, was in attendance to present FPS Founder, Huib van de Grijspaarde, with a special A-Zero (A0) emission label awarded only to zero-emission vessels.

During the presentation of the label, Minister Mark Harbers said: ‘It’s my pleasure to present the very first A-Zero emission label to H2 Barge 1, as it is the first vessel to truly qualify as zero emission. An achievement worth applauding. I hope this achievement by Future Proof Shipping will persuade other shipowners to make the transition to emission free transport too, and that many more A-Zero emission labels will be handed out in the future.’

Also present to celebrate this collective achievement, were the FPS team and various partner representatives from Air Liquide, BCTN Network of Inland Terminals, Holland Shipyards Group, Koedood Marine Group, Kooiman Marine Group, Nedstack Fuel Cell Technology, Rabobank, and Nike.

Also read: Holland Shipyards kicks off second hydrogen retrofit

‘This shipping project proves that moving cargo with zero-emissions and zero impact is possible, and we hope it accelerates the industry to follow in Nike’s footsteps and move to zero,’ stated Richard Klatten, CEO Future Proof Shipping. ‘I would like to thank our dedicated FPS team, our founder Huib van de Grijspaarde for his unwavering belief in us and the project and all our trusted partners for enabling us to see it through. This is a pivotal moment, not just for Future Proof Shipping but for the future of shipping.’

Interreg North Sea Region Programme funding

The FPS Maas/H2 Barge 1 retrofit project is supported by grant funding from the Interreg North Sea Region Programme (Zero Emission Ports North Sea – ZEM Ports NS), Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), Port of Rotterdam and Expertise- en InnovatieCentrum Binnenvaart.

Also read: EST-Floattech to supply batteries for FPS Maas hydrogen retrofit