The Dutch proudly announced Alphenaar, their first inland ship that transports Heineken beer throughout the country using interchangeable energy containers as batteries.
Alphenaar is the creation of the Netherlands-based company Zero Emission Services (ZES) and uses ZESpacks energy containers for propulsion. These are 20 ft (6 m) containers that are filled with lithium-ion batteries, but the company says that in the future it plans to also make the ZESpacks work with ammonia, hydrogen, or something else.
The energy containers are equipped with 45 battery modules that total 2 MWh, which is comparable to the capacity of approximately 36 electric cars. What is even more special about the Alphenaar is that it can swap these containers, which is a breakthrough for the company, because up until now, these containers were stationary installations. With the new system, the first two ZESpacks are loaded and exchanged at the first charging station located in Alphen aan den Rijn.
Alphenaar is the first vessel to use this technology but ZES plans a fleet of eight such ships, with eight loading stations and 14 ZESpacks. It is all part of Zero Emission Services’ goal to realize 30 zero-emission shipping routes by 2030. According to the company’s calculations, this would save up to 360,000 tons of CO2 and 2,800 tons of NOx (nitrogen oxides).
ZES claims that inland shipping makes up to 5 percent of the CO2 emissions in the country and 11 percent of the NOx emissions in the Netherlands. In order to lower these numbers, the Dutch have to switch to fully electric waterborne transport.
ZES is already in discussion to contract the next vessels as well as to develop the network of charging stations, with the first one to be located in Rotterdam.
Zero Emission Services was founded in 2020 and is a joint venture between ING, ENGIE, Wärtsilä, and the Port of Rotterdam Authority.