Ballard’s Fuel Cells For Retrofit Of FPS Containership


  • Dutch marine transport company working towards making its second inland container vessel emissions-free.
  • In order to make it emission-free they are removing the internal combustion engine and putting up a new zero-emission propulsion system in the vessel.
  • They are also optimizing its design, size, and power capacity of the propulsion system  to handle high energy consumption.

Dutch marine transportation service provider Future Proof Shipping (FPS) has selected Ballard Power Systems to provide PEM fuel cells for the retrofitting of its second inland container vessel, the FPS Waal, reported by Offshore Energy.

Agreement details

Once the project is complete, the vessel will operate emissions-free, powered by green hydrogen fuel.

This agreement will see the 109,8 x 11,40 x 3,53 m FPS Waal receive six DNV type-approved FCwave modules. As a result, the vessel will have a fuel cell capacity of 1.2 MW.

Internal features

In order to sail 100% emissions-free, the vessel’s internal combustion engine will be removed and a new zero-emissions propulsion system, including PEM fuel cells, hydrogen storage, battery packs and an electric drive train will be installed. 

Following the retrofit, the total amount of installed power will be approximately 1200 kW and the vessel will have a cargo capacity of 200 TEU.

The power capacity, size and design of the propulsion system for the FPS Waal are being optimized to handle the higher energy consumption rates on the Rotterdam to Duisburg section of the Rhine.

Zero-emission transport

The retrofit of the FPS Waal is supported by funding from the FLAGSHIPS project and the ZEM Ports NS project. 

The European innovation project aims to take zero-emission waterborne transport to a new level, bringing together key industrial players to share knowledge and expertise.

Starting journey

The retrofit is a similar project to that undertaken on FPS’ first vessel, FPS Maas, which is expected to be sailing on green hydrogen by the end of 2022.

FPS Maas arrived at the Holland Shipyards Group yard in Werkendam for its conversion back in August 2022. 

Once back in service, FPS Maas will carry on shipping container cargo between Rotterdam and Antwerp and is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2000 CO2e tonnes annually.

Benefits and opportunities

“A key benefit of joining the FLAGSHIPS consortium was getting the opportunity to work with world-leading technology companies like Ballard. Teaming up with Ballard for the provision of our fuel cells gives us the equipment and expertise we can rely on and together we are blazing a new trail towards zero-emissions inland shipping for all,” said Dirk de Jong, Project Manager, Future Proof Shipping.

Further development

Within the FLAGSHIPS project, FPS is also working with other partners, such as naval architect LMG Marin, and project coordinators VTT. 

The companies are collaborating to complete the engineering, fuel cell provision, and safety studies required for the vessel’s approval, applying and further developing the existing regulatory guidelines.

Future Proof Shipping said that it has been in discussions with several cargo companies interested in shipping their containers emissions-free on this route and who are aiming to move a large part of their sea cargo to inland water transportation.

The company bought the two ships, FPS Rijn and FPS Waal, in October 2021.

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Source: Offshore Energy


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