Cheers to that! Heineken first customer for zero-emission inland vessel


A new zero-emission inland transport vessel has been launched in the Netherlands, transporting beer for Heineken.

Zero Emission Services (ZES) BV, a Netherlands-based company founded in 2020 by ING Bank, Engie, the Port of Rotterdam, and Wartsila, commenced on 6 September with the ‘Alphenaar’, the first Dutch inland vessel to use interchangeable energy containers for propulsion.

The Alphenaar sailed between Alphen aan den Rijn and Moerdijk transporting beer for Heineken, ZES’s first end customer.

The energy containers – ‘ZESpacks’ – are standard 20ft containers filled with batteries, which are charged with green electricity.

The first two ZESpacks are loaded and exchanged at the first charging station at the CCT terminal in Alphen aan den Rijn.

The energy capacity is equivalent to that of approximately 36 electric passenger cars. When discharged, the containers can be exchanged and charged onshore using energy from renewable sources.

The system enables the vessel to operate on full electric power alone, with no carbon emissions being generated.

The concept also includes the organisation of the required charging infrastructure and a pay-per-use construction that enables skippers to pay for their use of energy.

ZES’s ambition is to scale up in the short term to eight vessels, eight loading stations and fourteen ZESpacks. 

ZES’s aims to realise 30 zero-emission shipping routes by 2030.

Willem Dedden, CEO of ZES, commented, “Within the Dutch transport sector, inland navigation accounts for 5% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

“By switching from diesel fuelled to electric propulsion, an important step can be taken towards realising the Paris Climate Agreement targets.”

Ships participating in the ZES service will eliminate around 1000 tonnes of CO2 and 7 tonnes of nitrogen oxide (NOx) per year, Dedden added.

ZES originated from a Green Circles project to realise a climate-neutral container shuttle between the Heineken brewery in Zoeterwoude and the Port of Rotterdam.

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