Zwolle region driving force for the greening of inland shipping

22 October 2021

Sailing with green hydrogen: that is the ultimate objective. With the support of the Province of Overijssel, a broad consortium is working on an ambitious plan to realise this objective as of 2023. Uniquely, all elements of the chain are represented, from inland shipping to harbour facilities, hydrogen production, and the wind turbines which supply the electricity for the hydrogen production.

Emission-free shipping

The inland shipping sector is responsible for a substantial share of the total inland emissions of CO2, particulate matter and nitrous oxides. A great advantage of sailing with hydrogen is that it is now done with zero emissions. Electricity is generated onboard the ship in hydrogen fuel cells, and used to power an electric engine. In the process the hydrogen together with oxygen is converted into water, which is the only emission.

One of the consortium partners is the Sendo Shipping company, which has operated the fully-electric Sendo Liner since 2019; the vessel received the KNVTS ‘Ship of the Year’ award the same year. Currently, the electricity is still being generated onboard using a diesel generator. The next step is to do this in combination with green hydrogen, using fuel cells. The Sendo Liner typically sails a fixed course between Westerbroek (Groningen) and Rotterdam. Distances of this sort can be sailed using onboard hydrogen.

The Sendo Liner

The case of Zuiderzeehaven in Kampen

The plan includes the local production of green hydrogen at the site of the IJDT terminal, a joint undertaking of the MCS shipping management company and green-energy provider Windkr-acht. Wind turbines and solar panels supply the electricity needed for the production of green hydrogen. Ships will be provisioned at the terminal. The hydrogen will also be available for road transport, particularly for freight transport. ‘To create a healthy business case, we are broadening the base as much as possible. After all, road transport also needs to become greener. In this way we maximise our project’s chance of success,’ says project director Rik Duijn.

Broad consortium

During 2021, a special partnership developed between the initiators (MCS, Windkr-acht, Sendo Shipping and Milo), the Port of Zwolle, and the regional and local governments (Province of Overijssel and the municipalities of Kampen and Meppel). The project, which is being executed by Hysolar Innovatie & Advies, is supported by the Province of Overijssel. Bert Boerman, Member of the Executive Council of the Province of Overijssel: ‘For years now, our policy has been to promote the transport of freight by water, with a view to reducing the load on road transport as much as possible. Now the time has come to make inland shipping more sustainable. We’re grasping this initiative with both hands.’

Inland-shipping greening consortium in the Zwolle region

Further in the region

Back to the Zuiderzeehaven harbour in Kampen. However powerful this initiative might be, it still only represents a beginning. The ultimate objective is to extend the concept of sailing with green hydrogen further in the region and beyond. ‘Our idea is to assist in the development of a corridor, in such a way that vessels over the various routes between Central and Northern Netherlands can be supplied with green hydrogen,’ says Jeroen van de Ende (CEO, Port of Zwolle). ‘Our palette of consortium partners will become bigger.’

For further information: Milo B.V. Rik Duijn (06 5149 5567);