Raising the readiness of zero-emission waterborne transport

The FLAGSHIPS project will take zero-emission waterborne transport to an entirely new level by deploying two commercially operated hydrogen fuel cell vessels. 


The demo vessels include Zulu 06, a commercial cargo transport vessel operating on hydrogen. Zulu 06 will be plying the river Seine in Paris. Commercial operations are set to commence in late 2024.

The hydrogen cargo transport vessel will be owned by French inland shipowner Compagnie Fluvial de Transport, a subsidiary of the Sogestran Group. The revolutionary vessel, named Zulu, will move goods on pallets and in containers on the route from Gennevilliers – Bonneuil Sur Marne. 

The vessel will operate on compressed hydrogen produced from electrolysis, enabling not only zero-emission operations, but also creating a solid base for more local zero-emission transport, both at sea and on land. The power generation system for Zulu will be supplied by ABB Marine & Ports, with two 200 kW PEM fuel cells from Ballard. LMG Marin is responsible for detailed design drawings, with hydrogen provided by suppliers in the Paris region.

FPS Waal 

The second demo vessel is the FPS Waal, owned and operated by the Netherlands-based Future Proof Shipping (FPS). The 109,8-meter-long container cargo vessel will operate on the route between Rotterdam (NL) and Duisburg (DE) on the river Rhine.  

While Zulu is a new-build, the FPS Waal is a retrofit. Formerly named Fenny 1, this vessel was built in 1993, and was recently acquired by FPS. The route on the Rhine between the Netherlands and Germany is 240 kilometer long, each way. The river has a significant flow, making it crucial to appropriately size and optimize the propulsion system.  

The FPS Waal will have a cargo capacity of 200 TEU after conversion and the zero-emission propulsion system will include PEM fuel cells, battery packs, an electric motor and hydrogen storage. The total amount of power installed will be around 1,2 MW. 

The FPS Waal is scheduled to be retrofitted and in operation by early 2024. 

Setting new standards for seaborne logistics 

The ship owners expect to maintain the ships in normal commercial operation after the 18-month demonstration period of the project. 

The project will cooperate over a broad base to complete the required safety assessment and approval for the two vessels, by applying and further developing the existing regulations and codes. 

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 the Clean Hydrogen Partnership

The Clean Hydrogen Partnership – the successor of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) – 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 hydrogen industries represented by Hydrogen Europe and the research community represented by Hydrogen Europe Research.

The FLAGSHIPS project has received funding from Clean Hydrogen Partnership (previously 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 and from Hydrogen Europe.

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