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Building blocks for zero emission inland shipping

Building blocks for zero emission inland shipping

04 November 2021
Building blocks for zero emission inland shipping

During the third day of Europort, an innovative plan was unveiled in a well-filled Innovation Stage that should make Northwestern European inland shipping emission-free within ten years. And contributes to a stable electricity grid.

We are talking about ZES. An abbreviation of Zero Emission Services. And that is a company that is founded by the companies ING, energy and technical service provider ENGIE, maritime technology company Wärtsilä and the Port of Rotterdam Authority. The Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management is supporting this initiative together with the Province of South Holland.

ZES offers a new energy system to make inland shipping more sustainable: a complete product and services package for emission-free sailing based on exchangeable battery containers with green electricity, charging stations, technical support and an innovative payment concept for barge owners.

During his presentation at the Innovation Stage, Teus van Beek of Wärtsilä Technology explained the concept of Exchangeable energy containers (ZESpacks).

"It’s state of the art technology in a standard 20ft container and charged with green electricity. Future-proof: it currently uses lithium-ion batteries, but can be easily converted to other energy carriers like hydrogen.”

Strategic charging points are located throughout the Netherlands where skippers can quickly exchange ZESpacks. Charging stations can also serve as Energy Hubs, which can charge other modalities or provide energy to stabilise the electricity grid.

Van Beek showed images of the 'Alphenaar’, the first Dutch inland vessel to use interchangeable energy containers for propulsion. The Alphenaar sails with two ZESpacks on board between Alphen aan den Rijn and Moerdijk and can be loaded and exchanged at the first charging station at the CCT terminal in Alphen aan den Rijn.

Van Beek said he expected ZES to be profitable within 5 to 10 years and that the initiative attracted the attention of several European countries.