A consortium of organisations that includes Wärtsilä have joined to form Zero Emission Services BV (ZES), an enterprise aimed at making inland waterway shipping in the Netherlands more sustainable
The concept is based on using battery containers – ZESPacks – to replace diesel propulsion. ZESPacks are charged using energy from renewable sources. A network of open access charging points will be set up for exchanging depleted battery containers for ready-charged replacements to keep waiting time to a minimum. The ZESPacks are designed for multiple applications, enabling them to be utilised for temporary onshore use, such as stabilising the local electricity grid or meeting short-term demand for electrical power.
Wärtsilä president, marine systems & executive vice president Tamara de Gruyter said the innovative solution is part of the company’s commitment to maritime decarbonisation.
Over a third of all goods and 80% of bulk transportation in the Netherlands takes place via inland waterways. “Our deep inhouse know-how in maritime battery systems, shore power connections and remote connections, plus our extensive experience in serving inland waterway applications, were all key reasons for Wärtsilä to join this project and it is something we are proud to be a part of.”
The company claims the system is future-proof since it is independent of the energy provider. Initially, batteries will be employed but if viable alternatives – such as hydrogen – were to emerge, containers equipped with hydrogen technology could supply power in the same way.
A ‘pay-per-use’ financing model has been mooted as a way to get barge operators to sign on to the project. ZES charges only for the cost of consumed energy plus a rental fee for the battery container, allowing a shipper’s operating costs to remain competitive. However, vessels must be equipped with an electric propulsion line.
The project will initially be employed along the Zoeterwoude–Alpherium–Moerdijk corridor and later expanded to include the Amsterdam–Rotterdam–Antwerp corridor, making a connection to Nijmegen. The emphasis during the initial stage will be on converted and newly-built container carriers.
Other partners include ING Bank, energy and technical service provider Engie, and the Port of Rotterdam Authority.
The project is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. Brewing company Heineken will be the first end customer in the project having entered into an agreement with ZES to utilise the service for transporting beer from its brewery in Zoeterwoude to Moerdijk.
Riviera is hosting a week of free to attend 45-minute webinars focused on maritime hybrid, electric and fuel cells commencing 1 June. Register your interest now