Emissions-free waterways barge concept


Wärtsilä and its ZES partners are committed to promoting emissions-free operations for inland waterway transport Photo: ZESWärtsilä and its ZES partners are committed to promoting emissions-free operations for inland waterway transport Photo: ZES



A consortium of partners has come together to make inland waterway shipping more sustainable in The Netherlands, a step forwards in realising the Paris Climate Agreement goals.

The Zero Emission Services (ZES) consortium includes Wärtsilä, ING Bank, Engie and the Port of Rotterdam Authority, with support from the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

“This innovative concept aligns completely with Wärtsilä’s commitment to lessening the environmental impact of shipping,” said Tamara de Gruyter, president of marine systems & executive vice president of Wärtsilä. “It is something we are proud to be a part of.”

The concept is based on the use of replaceable battery containers, to be known as ‘ZESPacks’ which can be charged using energy from renewable sources. The packs are designed for multiple applications, enabling them to be used for temporary onshore use such as stabilising the local electricity grid or meeting short-term demand for electrical power.

Wärtsilä said that the system is future-proof since it is independent of the energy provider. Initially batteries will be employed but should, for example, hydrogen become a viable alternative at some point, containers equipped with hydrogen technology could supply power in the same way.

The project will initially be employed along the Zoeterwoude – Alpherium – Moerdijk corridor. Following this, it will be expanded to include the Amsterdam – Rotterdam – Antwerp corridor, making a connection to Nijmegen.

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