Samstag, 26.05.2018 17:32 Uhr

Green Deal: Inland Shipping aims at (near) zero emissions

Verantwortlicher Autor: Jochen Raffelberg Nijmegen, 13.04.2018, 18:33 Uhr
Presse-Ressort von: Joachim Raffelberg Bericht 3997x gelesen
Mr Jaco Reijerkerk from Technical University Delft explains the cost effectiveness of hydrogen and fuel cells
Mr Jaco Reijerkerk from Technical University Delft explains the cost effectiveness of hydrogen and fuel cells  Bild: Jochen Raffelberg

Nijmegen [ENA] The Rhine basin’s inland ports and shipping industries have vowed to reduce air pollution and engine noise to almost nil by 2050, according to the EU Green Capital Declaration signed in Nijmegen by over 200 representatives of the sector, the EU and member authorities.

The rationale for the document is the transition to sustainable waterborne transport based on (near) zero emissions from shipping and its supporting environment, it stipulates. The signatories include BCTN (Benelux inland container terminal network), Heineken, Friesland Campina, North Sea Port, NedCargo, Danser Group, Port-Liner and the cities of Rotterdam and Nijmegen. Port-Liner will roll out in August the first fully electric, emission-free barges in Europe that can handle up to 280 containers. But many shippers and their lobby refused joining, maintaining that their industry was the cleanest transport mode already.

The German Inland Shipping association said that over the last two years some 200 main and support engines were upgraded with the help of state funds plus other measures to reduce emissions, totaling almost €6.0 million, BDB said; ship owners had paid further enhancements from their own pockets. According to the declaration freight transport via inland shipping had sustainable growth potential as long as the sector made the transition towards clean and renewable energy: “By stepwise switching to low- and eventually zero-emission shipping, the sector can grow and help to prevent road congestion, reduce greenhouse gases emissions, and improve the air quality in inland port cities, regions and agglomerations along busy waterways.”

Green Deal: Nijmegen Declaration
Soot sensors along the Waal at Nijmegen
Sensors measuring air pollution are explained to passers-by

Signatory partners pledged to initiate a three-step process to accomplish the target. Delegates at the Dutch city of Nijmegen’s two-day gathering heard that inland waterways transport (IWT) is among the most sustainable means of transport. Transporting one ton of freight by inland vessels causes up to twelve times less carbon dioxide (CO2) than transporting the same freight by road truck, according to a recent study by CE Delft, an unsubsidized independent research and consultancy organization specialized in developing innovative solutions to environmental problems. The declaration says as innovations on roads were quicker, the inland waterway transport sector wanted to bring further down its carbon footprint.

Different technical solutions were available to reduce or eliminate emissions, some of which could be applied by retrofitting whereas others were more suitable for new-build vessels. Inland shipping could also benefit from technological breakthroughs in other transportation sectors, such as electric road vehicles powered by batteries and/or hydrogen fuel cells. Where such zero-emission solutions were not yet possible, low- emission solutions such as hybrid propulsion, (bio-) LNG engines or scrubbers could be applied, among others. “The inland shipping sector is optimistic towards the sustainability of waterborne transport but is reliant on the supply of onshore energy facilities for low and zero-emission sailing.”

These facilities could be integrated with local clean and renewable energy projects for other sectors such as residential areas and industrial users, according to the declaration. Cooperation between inland port cities, regions and cooperation between inland cities and the inland shipping sector is a prerequisite for the achievement of the transition to clean and renewable energy, the paper says. The city of Duisburg was already planning for an “innovative LNG infrastructure”, its environment officer Thomas Griebe said. The 3-step process entails a study by 2020 on sustainable freight transport, addressing technological, financial and organizational issues that must be solved to accelerate the market for (near) zero emission solutions.

The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management offered to facilitate this process. Step two arranges the public-private investments in the development of new and already viable business cases, with the aim of organizing this part as a project under one of the EU funding schemes such as the clean inland shipping project CLINSH. According to the concept, step three starts in 2023 and involves the upscaling of the elaborated business cases. The signatory parties pledge to cooperate to achieve at least a 20% CO2 reduction on the waterways/corridors involved. The Netherlands’ 2030 target is to reduce emissions from IWT from 2.1 megatons CO2 + equivalents to 1.7 megatons. The EU figures would be twice as high.

CLINSH is a demonstration project in which emissions-reducing technologies and alternative fuels are being tested. It will provide data about their effectiveness and operating costs. CLINSH was launched in 2016 and is co-funded under the European Commission’s LIFE program. The total project value is over €8.5 million that will be invested by the 17 partners in various schemes aimed at the sustainability of the inland shipping sector. The CLINSH consortium comprises Dutch, Belgian, German and English public and private organizations. Under the project 30 ships with catalytic converters and cleaner fuel are being monitored.

The EU has given shippers until 2020 to adapt engines to the so-called NRMM emissions limits that stipulate a drastic reduction of emissions. The European inland shipping fleet comprises close to 20.000 vessels with some 2.000 barges registered in Germany. The average age of their engines is given as circa 25 years which compares to 19 years in the Netherlands. The conference Ports and the City was organized by Nijmegen, the European Green Capital 2018, and the Smart and Healthy City program of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. Nijmegen is one of the program’s pilot cities that measures soot pollution. It is located on the river Waal where over 100.000 ships are sailing past every year, some eleven per hour.

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