A French consortium is aiming to develop a hydrogen fuel barge to cut port emissions.

Clean energy pioneer HDF Energy has teamed up with partners including space rocket company ArianeGroup and engineering centre Cetim to realise the Elemanta H2 design.

Software company Amethyste, storage group Rubis Terminal and Sofresid Engineering are also involved.

The group said the power barge will supply electricity and hydrogen to large ships, reducing their carbon output by more than 85% during port calls.

The cooperation deal will see the partners provide mobile solutions and cold-ironing services in addition to the electrical grid.

Vessels serviced will include container ships, cruise ships and tankers.

The partners have identified the river port of Rouen and more specifically the Rubis Terminal there as the pioneer site.

It is strategically located between the Grand Port Maritime du Havre and the ports of Paris.

With the support of Normandie Energies and the port operator Haropa, a demonstration barge will integrate a multi-MW hydrogen fuel cell system manufactured in France by HDF Energy.

In addition, a high-pressure green hydrogen storage system will cover the need for autonomy during port calls.

Plans to reach all major ports

Sofresid will work on integration of equipment on the barge, which will be able to move as close as possible to vessels to maximise its utilisation rate.

A risk analysis will be covered by Amethyste.

Finally, Cetim will take charge of measuring the environmental gains achieved.

All NOx and SOx will be eliminated during port calls.

The power barge will be commissioned in 2025 for a 20-year operating period.

The ultimate aim is to standardise and replicate the vessel, with higher power levels, in major European ports, so it can become part of future hydrogen hub projects.

“In the long term, the use of liquid hydrogen or the addition of hydrogen bunkering services, a skill provided by ArianeGroup, could significantly increase the quantity of energy on board to offer a better service,” the consortium said.

Arnaud Hibert, hydrogen technology sales manager at ArianeGroup, said: “With more than 40 years of experience with Ariane rockets, whose on-board systems and infrastructures use liquid hydrogen, ArianeGroup will support the evolution of the Elemanta concept towards higher power applications and an additional bunkering service”.

Damien Havard, president of HDF Energy, added: “HDF is proud to bring its expertise in hydrogen technologies for the development of the Elemanta H2 barge. Thanks to its high-power fuel cell mass production plant, HDF has solutions adapted to the major challenges of the maritime sector decarbonisation”.