World’s first hydrogen cargo vessel set for deployment


The European innovation project, Flagships, is set to deploy the world’s first commercial cargo transport vessel operating on hydrogen on the river Seine.

On 7 April, it announced that the vessel will begin commercial operations this year, operating on compressed hydrogen produced from electrolysis. It will allow for zero emission operations while creating the foundations for more local zero emission transport, both at sea and on land. The vessel is owned by Compagnie Fluvial de Transport (CFT), a subsidiary of the Sogestran Group, with the company in the process of developing a new business for urban distribution with transport vessels in the Paris area.

Flagships was awarded €5mn in funding in 2018 from the Horizon 2020 programme through the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) to deploy two hydrogen vessels in France. The initial plan was to deploy a hydrogen push-boat in Lyon though, owed to the emergence of the broader potential for hydrogen in cargo transport, the plan was changed to focus on an inland cargo vessel. The new vessel will be tasked with moving goods on pallets and in containers along the Seine.

Bart Biebuyck, Executive Director of the FCH JU, said: “As we move through the energy transition, hydrogen technologies are gaining traction in the maritime sector. Flagships is a very exciting project for us, since it is leading the way to demonstrate how vessels operating on green hydrogen can decarbonise urban rivers. By translating technological innovations into commercial operations we can make zero-emissions inland vessels a reality in every European city.”