World’s first hydrogen tug for Antwerp

Port of Antwerp's 'Hydrotug' will be the world's first hydrogen-powered tug (Port of Antwerp) Port of Antwerp's 'Hydrotug' will be the world's first hydrogen-powered tug (Port of Antwerp)
Industry Database

Port of Antwerp has ordered a hydrogen-powered tug that will be first of its type in the world and the lowest-rated for emissions on the market.

Worthy of reporting beyond the usual vessel delivery round-up, this news takes development of so-called “green tugs” to another level in a market that is seeing increasing interest in hybrid, all-electric and LNG-powered tugs. The order is seen as an important step in the transition to a sustainable CO2-neutral port at Antwerp.

Designated the “Hydrotug” the vessel is being built by Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB) and is driven by combustion engines burning hydrogen in combination with diesel providing compliance with EU Stage V standards.

The combination of dual-fuel technology with state-of-the-art particle filter and catalyser will deliver ultra-low emission standards resulting in minimal emissions of NOx and particulates with no CO2 emissions resulting from the combustion of hydrogen. The Hydrotug is expected to be operational within two years.

In selecting Antwerp-based CMB for the Hydrotug, Port of Antwerp has secured the services of a company seen as having an international pioneering role in the transition to ships powered by eco-friendly fuel. Last year CMB won Port of Antwerp’s Sustainability Award with its “Hydroville” shuttle, a passenger ferry that also uses dual-fuel technology and is now employed for sustainable commuter transport within the Antwerp port area.

The requirements of Port of Antwerp were taken into account by CMB in a world that demands businesses, services and industry reduce their emissions and after looking at the available technologies found that, based on current industry demands and operating behaviour, hydrogen is the only fuel which can provide a zero-emission future.

Alexander Saverys, CEO of Compagnie Maritime Belge said: “We are convinced of the potential of hydrogen as the key to sustainable shipping and making the energy transition of a reality.” Adding: “The expertise that we acquire with the Hydrotug will enable us to further develop the use of hydrogen as a ship’s fuel.”

Port of Antwerp CEO Jacques Vandermeiren said: “As an industrial seaport, Antwerp's role in the energy transition should not be underestimated. We are working towards becoming a CO2-neutral port. Together with our partners we are preparing for the future in a constant search for innovative applications and opportunities.”

By Peter Barker

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