In 2021, passengers can board a Rotterdam water taxi running on hydrogen. It will be the world’s first time on this scale that a commercial boat comes into operation running entirely on this zero-emission fuel. The hydrogen-water taxi is being developed by the SWIM consortium, initiated by Enviu as part of Enviu’s zero-emission shipping program THRUST. To overcome the infrastructure barrier, parallel to this project, Enviu is also working on a green hydrogen tank station.
Greenhouse gas emissions and the resulting global warming is one of the biggest problems we’re facing as a society today. If the maritime industry were a country, it would be among the top 6 producers of greenhouse gas emissions globally. Waterborne transport accounts for more than 3% of global emissions and 10% of all transport emissions. Needless to say, change is needed.
In the car industry in Asia, hydrogen-powered passenger cars for several years. Together the SWIM consortium, (consisting of Enviu, Watertaxi Rotterdam, and the (maritime) innovation companies Flying Fish and ZEPP.solutions) are designing, developing and integrating these proven technologies into a brand new boat for the iconic Watertaxi Rotterdam’s fleet. A fuel cell based system is planned to be ready in 2020, then integrated into the Watertaxi. Simultaneously the boat’s efficiency is going to be optimized, to fully capitalize the advantages of operating on electric propulsion by fuel cells from hydrogen. The aim is that the boat’s performance will meet or exceed the performance of its peer boats, allowing it to be fully embedded into their operational schedule.
“We are going to demonstrate that green hydrogen can already be used operationally in the maritime sector,” says Tim van Vrijaldenhoven, who coordinates the SWIM project from Enviu’s shipping program THRUST. “Previous attempts worked technically, but were not market-ready because of a lack of infrastructure. To overcome this barrier, in parallel to this project, Enviu is working on developing a green hydrogen tank station that can service the water taxi, but also other customers. This station would be an energy hub that can be accessed from land and water, strengthening its business case.”
The ultimate goal of THRUST is to enable a shipping industry without harmful emissions. The watertaxi is both wonderful publicity for the application of hydrogen, and a springboard. We’re jointly launching a commercially viable, emission-free solution for passenger transport by water that can be scaled up for larger ships in the maritime sector.