The world’s first hydrogen-fuelled commercial cargo ship will soon be travelling through Paris, France, in the next stage of the European Flagships project.

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Owned by Compagnie Fluvial de Transport (CFT), which aims to build up business for “green and sustainable” transport vessels in cities with industrial waterways, the new ‘Zulu’ concept ship is foreseen starting commercial operations shuttling goods along the river Seine later this year.

“The demand for more sustainable technologies in inland waterway transport is on the rise. As part of the Flagships project, we are happy to be leading the way on reducing emissions from transport and demonstrating the superior features of hydrogen fuel cells in waterborne applications,” said Matthieu Blanc, director of CFT, part of the Sogestran Group.

Flagships project coordinator Jyrki Mikkola stated: “Green and sustainable shipping is a prerequisite for reaching national and international emission reduction targets. Ships powered by renewable hydrogen will make a substantial contribution to reducing emissions from shipping and improving air quality in cities and other densely populated areas.”

The vessel will run on compressed hydrogen produced via electrolysis, enabling zero-emission operations, using a system supplied by ABB Marine & Ports, with fuel cells from Ballard.

The Flagships project was originally awarded €5m ($6m) in funding in 2018 from the EU’s Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020 to launch two hydrogen vessels in France and Norway.