Antwerp Launches World’s First Hydrogen-Powered Tug

World First Hydrogen-Powered Tug For Port of Antwerp

The Port of Antwerp has ordered the construction of the ‘Hydrotug’ world’s first hydrogen-powered tug boat as part of its drive to achieve more environmentally-friendly operations.

In a statement, the Port said the Hydrotug, the first in the world of this kind, will be powered by combustion engines that burn hydrogen in combination with diesel.

The engines comply with EU Stage V standards, making them the lowest-rated for emissions on the market.

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Furthermore, the ultra-low-emission tug is being built by Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB), a company specialized in the field of hydrogen power for shipping.

With this innovative technology, the port is making an important step in the transition to a sustainable, CO2-neutral port.

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.

Ultra-low emissions

Combustion of hydrogen does not emit any CO2, and the particle filter combined with the catalyzer will result in minimal emissions of NOx and particulates.

The combination of the dual-fuel technology with a state-of-the-art particle filter and catalyzer designed to meet the very highest standards will ensure that the Hydrotug is ultra-low-emission.

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.

“With this world first we aim to further prepare the way for alternative fuels such as hydrogen, in order to realise 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.”

Meanwhile, the CMB has teamed up with the Ghent-based engine builder ABC to set up the BeHydro joint venture with the aim of further developing the technology for medium-speed engines with higher power output.

The Hydrotug for its part is the first vessel with output in the 4000 kW class to be powered by hydrogen-diesel dual fuel.

Alexander Saverys, CEO of Compagnie Maritime Belge said, “We are convinced of the potential of hydrogen as the key to sustainable shipping and making the energy transition of a reality.

“The expertise that we acquire with the Hydrotug will enable us to further develop the use of hydrogen as a ship’s fuel.”

Port alderman Annick De Ridder said, “Hydrogen is one of the keys to an economy and society with minimum impact on the environment. As such it is one of the fuels of the future.

“With Port of Antwerp we aim to develop its potential to the full, committing ourselves as active pioneers in the hydrogen economy on a European scale.

“The ecosystem represented by the Antwerp port platform is an ideal testbed for this technology on a large scale. In this way we seek to be a source of inspiration and to set an example for other ports.

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