Interview with Dirk de Jong - Future Proof Shipping THE BEGINNING OF SUSTAINABLE INLAND NAVIGATION T he route chosen by Future Proof Shipping has not been sailed by any other party before. The Dutch company will start operating a hydrogenpowered inland waterway vessel by the summer of 2023. ‘This idea could only come to fruition because Holland Shipyards Group believed in it.’ The shipping industry is a reluctant one, according to Future Proof Shipping. ‘While in the world around us, many changes are taking place, in the maritime world, things happen at a much slower pace,’ says Dirk de Jong, project manager at the company. ‘International organisations are very reluctant to establish rules for sustainability.’ Future Proof Shipping, therefore, wants to force that change itself. The company was established five years ago. The first two years were still mainly about collecting and sharing knowledge. Still, in January 2010, the company bought the 110-metre barge, De Maas, to show that it could be done: sailing sustainably without emitting CO2. GREEN HYDROGEN Hydrogen was chosen as the energy carrier, not batteries. ‘Electric sailing is an excellent choice when a ship covers reasonably short distances and has sufficient time to recharge. Take ferries, for example,’ says De Jong. ‘For our application, batteries charging power and charging locations are still insufficiently developed. That would limit us too much. With hydrogen, however, we can do just fine.’ De Jong is familiar with the disadvantages of hydrogen. ‘The loss of energy when creating hydrogen is a given, yet if you want to set up a service in the way we want, hydrogen remains the most logical choice. Even though the hydrogen we obtain from Air Liquide is certified green, we would certainly like to see more providers offering green hydrogen.’ The vessel, now called FPS Maas, is fitted with an 800kW electric motor and three fuel cells, each with a maximum output of 300kW. Air Liquide will supply the sustainably generated hydrogen in two 40-foot containers, each containing 450 kilos of hydrogen at 300 bar pressure. ‘The initial idea originated within Future Proof Shipping,’ says De Jong. ‘It was subsequently developed from scratch in close cooperation with Holland Shipyards Group and Air Liquide. Nedstack then supplied the fuel cells (meervoud) and the installation was developed by Koedood.’ 18

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