Watertaxi on hydrogen MSTX 22 in Rijnhaven

The world’s first hydrogen powered watertaxi sails Rotterdam

The maritime industry has an enormous emissions footprint. Local companies Enviu, Flying FishZepp.Solutions have formed the SWIM consortium to develop the world’s first hydrogen-powered watertaxi.

12 passengers can board the MSTX 22. It’s the first commercial boat that entirely runs on this zero-emission fuel. During the World Port Days, Friday 2, and Saturday 3 September, the ship is on display at the Leuvehaven.

The new MSTX 22 will be included in the schedule of Watertaxi Rotterdam as soon as hydrogen can be bunkered in Rotterdam. The Port of Rotterdam Authority is now developing the infrastructure for this, which will be ready in early 2023. The hydrogen watertaxi fits in with its mission to make its entire fleet more sustainable. In addition to the MSTX 22, Watertaxi Rotterdam already operates six electric vessels.

Carry enough energy

”We have set ourselves the goal of making our entire fleet zero-emission by 203,” says co-owner Daan van der Have of Watertaxi Rotterdam. ‘Our vessels need to carry enough energy to be able to sail continuously for at least six hours a day. That’s a major challenge. That is why we, together with Enviu have developed a hydrogen-powered watertaxi. We have now succeeded. We hope to take a big step towards the complete transition of our fleet with it.”

Greenhouse gas emissions and the resulting global warming is one of the biggest problems nowadays. If the maritime industry were a country, it would be among the top 6 producers of greenhouse gas emissions globally. Waterborne transport accounts for more than 3% of global emissions and 10% of all transport emissions.

The hydrogen-electric watertaxi has been with financial support from the Municipality of Rotterdam, the Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management and the Gieskes-Strijbis Fund.

A bunker station for hydrogen is next

Tim van Vrijaldenhoven, who is coordinating the SWIM project from Enviu’s shipping program THRUST, says: ”The ultimate goal of THRUST is to make a shipping industry without harmful emissions possible. The Rotterdam watertaxi is on the one hand a beautiful business card for the application of hydrogen and on the other hand a good springboard. It launches a commercial, emission-free solution for passenger transport by water. That can be scaled up for larger ships in the maritime sector.”

”At the same time, Enviu is also developing the necessary infrastructure for sailing on hydrogen. For example, a bunker station will have to be built in the port of Rotterdam. So sustainably generated hydrogen can be refueled,’ says van Vrijaldenhoven.  The production of hydrogen is still expensive at the moment, but Van Vrijaldenhoven expects its price to fall sharply soon as demand and storage capacity increase.

”The hydrogen watertaxi is proof that concrete solutions already exist in the transition to clean water transport,’ says Enviu director Maarten Fonteijn. ‘We can now also supply our technology in larger capacities and to other parties, starting with the port of Rotterdam.”

The Port of Rotterdam Authority, energy company Uniper and Shell are already investing heavily in
production facilities for green hydrogen on the Maasvlakte. Shell expects to be able to set up the first hydrogen plant here as early as 2023. The Port of Rotterdam Authority and Uniper want to have a second hydrogen factory operational in 2024, also on the Maasvlakte operational in 2024.

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