Zero emission cargo ship with exchangeable energy containers in service
About 80% of the volume of international merchandise trade is transported by sea, and this percentage is even higher for most developing countries. The freighters that carry these goods are a massive source of pollution, and we’ve seen some interesting ideas to reduce their emissions, like massive sails and hydrogen powertrains.
Today, a Netherlands-based company, Zero Emission Services (ZES), commissioned the Alphenaar, the first Dutch river vessel, which uses interchangeable energy containers as batteries. The Alphenaar sails between Alphen aan den Rijn and Moerdijk carrying beer for HEINEKEN, ZES ‘first end customer.
Alphenaar uses energy containers ‘ZESpacks’ are standard 20ft containers filled with batteries charged with green electricity. The ZESpacks currently in use work with lithium-ion batteries, but it could also be hydrogen, ammonia or something in the future. The ZESpack always adapts to the connection, regardless of the type of energy in the container.
Wärtsilä – supplier of the first ZES packs – has been working for a few months on the assembly and testing of energy containers, each equipped with security and communication systems, and 45 battery modules totaling 2 MWh – comparable to capacity about 36 electric cars. The interchangeability of containers, which until now were fixed installations, is particularly unique.
With a 2000 kWh ZESpack, a barge can sail from 2 to 4 hours; with 2 ZESpacks on board, it can cover a distance of 60 to 120 km. When the vessel arrives at the next terminal, replacing the batteries with new ones only takes 15 minutes. The electric powertrain of the barge guarantees the absence of CO2, nitrogen or particulate emissions. In addition, a ZES vessel makes virtually no noise.
ENGIE has developed the first ZES charging station at the Alpherium, the CCT container terminal in Alphen aan den Rijn, where ZESpacks are exchanged and charged with certified green energy. In July, the Alphenaar was converted and equipped, among other things, with the standard connection to receive ZESpacks, reports ZES. The first successful test operation took place at the end of August.
“The energy concept that ZES launches on the market contributes directly to the reduction of emissions by saving around 1,000 tonnes of CO2 and 7 tonnes of NOx per ship and per year. In addition, ships sailing with ZES do not produce particles and noise.Says Willem Dedden, CEO of ZES.
Alphenaar is the first vessel to use this technology, but ZES plans to expand to eight vessels, eight loading stations and fourteen ZESpacks in the near term. This is all part of Zero Emission Services’ goal of achieving 30 zero emission shipping routes by 2030, which can save up to 360,000 tonnes of CO2 and 2,800 tonnes of NOx (nitrogen oxides).
ZES is working closely with national, regional and local authorities and forward-thinking carriers to contract the next ships and develop the associated network of charging stations, starting with Rotterdam, Moerdijk and Alblasserdam.