Assessment of the scalability of (hydrogen) retrofit solutions as a greening solution across the inland waterway fleet

The central commission for navigation on the Rhine (CCNR) has set an ambition of a 35% reduction in emissions by 2035. This paper aims to translate these ambitions into clearer targets for the industry.

The paper analyzes how many vessels in the Dutch inland waterway fleet need to be zero emissions (ZE) by 2035 to meet the goal, and investigates two pathways to reach that number: retrofitting and replacement by newbuild.

This paper then discusses the integration of hydrogen (H2) into non-port (re)fuelling infrastructure for inland waterways, with the aim of achieving 100% emission reduction. The focus is on proton-exchange membrane fuel cell (PEFMC) propulsion systems and key parameters for retrofitting vessels to hydrogen propulsion, such as H2 production and shipyard capacity. Our findings show that while hydrogen propulsion technologies and Green H2 production will be available at sufficient capacity, the clear bottleneck is shipyard (retrofitting) capacity.

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This research is part of ZEM Ports NS, an Interreg project made possible by support from the North Sea Programme of the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union.

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