Replaceable battery packs from Wärtsilä now enable inland waterway vessels to operate on electrical power, with no emissions. The development represents a significant breakthrough as Wärtsilä explained that, until now, battery containers have been stationary installations.
The first vessel to use the new system, Alphenaar, belongs to ZES (Zero Emission Services) BV, a company established in 2020 by ING Bank, Engie, the Port of Rotterdam and Wärtsilä. The 104-TEU inland container vessel has been modified for two battery containers which provide sufficient power for the ship to operate solely on electricity. The power required is roughly equivalent to 36 passenger cars, Wärtsilä said.
Alphenaar is now shipping beer for the first customer, Heineken, on the Zoeterwoude – Alpherium – Moerdijk corridor in the Netherlands. When the vessel’s batteries lose their charge, the battery containers are exchanged for full ones. Empties are then recharged onshore with electricity from renewable sources.
William Dedden, CEO of ZES, commented: “Within the Dutch transport sector, inland navigation accounts for 5% of the CO2 emissions. By switching from diesel-fuelled to electric propulsion, an important step can be taken towards realising the Paris Climate Agreement targets. Ships participating in the ZES service will eliminate around 1,000 tonnes of CO2 and seven tonnes of Nox per year.”
Replaceable batteries to transform inland waterway operation