New zero-emission hydrogen-powered cargo vessel ready for operation on the Rhine

Dutch shipowner Future Proof Shipping (FPS), the EU-funded Flagships project, and the Interreg-funded ZEM Ports NS project launch the groundbreaking H2 Barge 2. The hydrogen-powered vessel will ship goods completely emission-free on the Rhine between Rotterdam (NL) and Duisburg (DE).

Future Proof Shipping, the Flagships project, and ZEM Ports NS project gathered key stakeholders to celebrate the successful launch of the H2 Barge 2 at Holland Shipyard Group´s Werkendam facility, just outside Rotterdam. 

This is another proud moment for us, it proves moving cargo with zero emissions and zero impact is not only possible, it’s scalable too. Successfully launching our second hydrogen-powered inland cargo vessel is just as important an achievement as the first, not just for Future Proof Shipping, ZEM Ports NS, and the Flagships project, but for the future of green shipping. This vessel now sets the standard for inland shipping and beyond,” says the CEO of Future Proof Shipping, Richard Klatten.

Successful retrofit

The H2 Barge 2 is the first of two demonstrators in the EU-funded Flagships project, and the second demonstrator of the ZEM Ports NS project. The vessel, formerly Fenny 1 and FPS Waal, was built as a conventionally powered containership. 

During 2023, H2 Barge 2 was stripped of all combustion engines and fossil fuel tanks at Holland Shipyards Group (HSG) in Werkendam. Now, the vessel has a completely new 100% emission-free propulsion system including PEM fuel cells, hydrogen storage, battery packs and an electric drive train installed below deck. Six fuel cells from Ballard Power Systems raise the total power installed to 1,2 MW.

Inland waterways are important for freight transport in Europe, we are thrilled to see a high-power container vessel being converted to zero-emission. The H2 Barge 2 will bring knowledge on how to retrofit vessels from diesel combustion to zero-emission alternatives, by using batteries in combination with green hydrogen in a fuel cell. I am proud to see that our funding contributes to the decarbonization of freight transport in the European Union,” says Mirela Atanasiu, Executive Director ad interim of Clean Hydrogen Partnership. 

H2 Barge 2 is expected to reduce 3.000 tonnes of CO2 annually when sailing the Rhine. With 80% of all cargo flows on the Rhine sailing between Rotterdam and Duisburg, H2 Barge 2 proves that much of the fleet can be fully zero emission already today.

Global importance

This project proves collaboration across borders and companies is key to making the green shift in shipping happen. Getting new hydrogen vessels into operation is important if we are to speed up the green maritime transition. Together, we´re building new future fuel value chains crucial to meeting fast-approaching climate goals,” says the CEO of Maritime CleanTech, Ada Jakobsen.

The second demonstrator vessel in the Flagships project, Zulu 06, will be deployed in Paris in 2024.

We´ve been working hard for several years to get to this point. Having the first demonstrator on the Rhine is truly a great achievement by Future Proof Shipping and the rest of the partners. The aim of the Flagships project is to take zero-emission waterborne transport to an entirely new level. Now we´re one important step closer to reaching our goal,” says Flagships Project Coordinator and Senior Scientist at VTT, Jyrki Mikkola.

This pivotal moment is shared by the FPS team, Holland Shipyards Group (HSG), Ballard Power Systems, and partners and supporters at the Port of Rotterdam, Expertise- en InnovatieCentrum Binnenvaart (EICB), Zero Emissions Ship Technology Association (ZESTAs), WaterborneTP, NSHyMap, RH2INE and Maritime CleanTech.

This project was made possible with funding support from the Interreg North Sea Region Programme (Zero Emission Ports North Sea – ZEM Ports NS), Flagships H2020 Project (Clean Hydrogen Partnership), and Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).

About Future Proof Shipping 

Future Proof Shipping (FPS) (, offers zero-emissions shipping services to enable players across the value chain make the transition to zero-emissions. As a zero-emission shipowner, FPS aims to build and operate a fleet of 10 zero-emission inland and short-sea vessels over the next five years which they will offer for charter to logistics service providers and cargo owners. With H2 Barge 2 coming into service, FPS has two zero-emission inland cargo vessels powered by hydrogen in operation. 

FPS also facilitates other shipowners and stakeholders in the maritime sector who are ready to make the shift to zero-emissions, through technical support as well as project development and management. 


The FLAGSHIPS (www. consortium includes 12 European partners, with shipowners, Future Proof Shipping (NL), Norled (NO), and CFT (FR) assisted by its support companies Sogestion (FR) and Sogestran (FR); the maritime OEM and integrator companies ABB Marine & Ports (FI) and SEAM (NO); and ship design company LMG Marin (NO & FR). World-leading fuel cell technology is provided by Ballard Power Systems Europe (DK), with vessel energy monitoring and management by Persee (FR). Management and dissemination activities are provided by VTT (FI) and Maritime CleanTech (NO), respectively. 

About the Clean Hydrogen Partnership 

The Clean Hydrogen Partnership aims to strengthen and integrate European Union research and innovation capacity to accelerate the development and improvement of advanced clean hydrogen applications ready for market, across energy, transport, building and industrial end-uses, while strengthening competitiveness of the Union clean hydrogen value chain. The three members of the partnership are the European Commission, fuel cell and 3 hydrogen industries represented by Hydrogen Europe and the research community represented by Hydrogen Europe Research.

The FLAGSHIPS project has received funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking under Grant Agreement No 826215. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program, Hydrogen Europe and Hydrogen Europe Research. 

About ZEM Ports NS 

The ZEM Ports NS ( project consortium consists of seven organizations based in Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the UK. The project facilitates the use of zero emission fuels (electric and hydrogen) in the NSR ports and maritime sector. The project looks at the role of ports in the interface between zero emission vessels and port infrastructure. It especially addresses the integration of zero emission fuels into the port refuelling infrastructure and local energy systems as well as port and on-ship energy storage.

About the Interreg North Sea Programme

Interreg is a family of more than 100 EU programmes supporting regional development and cohesion across the European Union. In Interreg, cooperation is a key tool to ensure a vibrant future for all. The Interreg North Sea Region Programme is part of this family and responds to a wide range of pressing issues in our region. It does this by supporting innovative partnerships to work together across borders. In our projects, teams of innovators strive to make the North Sea Region a smarter, greener and more liveable place for its 60+ million citizens.

About the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO)

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) helps entrepreneurs and organisations to invest, develop and expand their businesses and projects. Both in the Netherlands and abroad. We are a government agency which is part of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. The RVO supports entrepreneurs, NGOs, knowledge institutes, policymakers and organisations. And improves collaborations and strengthen positions through our funding and networks.

H2 Barge 2 

Formerly known as FPS Waal and Fenny 1 (built 1993)

Size: 109,8 metres long, 11,4 metres wide

Retrofit: 2023, Holland Shipyards Group (HSG), Werkendam

Capacity: 190 TEU

Route: Rotterdam (NL) – Duisburg (DE) 

Fuel cells: 6×200 kW (FC Wave from Ballard Power Systems)

Thank you!