Europe's second-largest seaport Port of Antwerp has ordered construction of a tug powered by hydrogen, the first in the world.
The unique "Hydrotug" is driven by combustion engines that burn hydrogen in combination with diesel. The motors also comply with the very strictest standard, the EU Stage V, making them the lowest-rated for emissions on the market.
The Belgium-based port operator said that this ultra-low-emission tug is being built by Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB), a pioneer in the field of hydrogen power for shipping. With this world first Antwerp is making an important step in the transition to a sustainable, CO2-neutral port.
By lending support to this promising technology Port of Antwerp hopes that the shipping industry will follow. The port is systematically pursuing a policy of making its entire fleet eco-friendly by incorporating the most environment-friendly technologies available on the market.
The combination of this dual-fuel technology with a state-of-the-art particle filter and catalyser designed to meet the very highest standards will ensure that the Hydrotug is ultra-low-emission. Combustion of hydrogen does not emit any CO2, and the particle filter combined with the catalyser will result in minimal emissions of NOx and particulates.
Construction is due to begin shortly and the Hydrotug is expected to be operational within two years. This innovation is part of an integral greening program of the own fleet, whereby systematic efforts are made to integrate the most environmentally friendly technologies available.
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. "
Vandermeiren added: "With this world first we aim to further prepare the way for alternative fuels such as hydrogen, in order to realize the transition to alternative, renewable sources of energy. At Port of Antwerp we are setting a good example with this significant step towards making our own tugs eco-friendly."