The first hydrogen water taxi in Rotterdam, Source: Watertaxi Rotterdam

Rotterdam now has water taxi powered by hydrogen

Rotterdam now has water taxi powered by hydrogen

The new vehicle has significant advantages when compared to electric taxis, authorities assure

It will soon be possible to move around the canals of Rotterdam by hydrogen water taxi. Yesterday, 30 August, the water taxi service of the largest port in Europe – Watertaxi Rotterdam – presented the new sustainable vehicle and added it to its fleet.

Said fleet already contains six electric taxis, but the hydrogen-powered one is expected to be much more efficient and good for the environment, according to authorities.

Cleaner water transport is possible

The maritime sector is among the most polluting in the world, hence hydrogen (a fuel that does not emit carbon dioxide (CO2) while burning) is becoming the norm for cleaner water transport. According to a press release by the Municipality of Rotterdam, the new hydrogen taxi will be just as clean as an electric water taxi, but also twice as fast. Plus, it is much quieter than a boat powered by diesel.

The 12-person MSTX 22 was developed by SWIM, a partnership between Watertaxi Rotterdam, maritime innovator Flying Fish and hydrogen/fuel cell manufacturer from Delft, and the Rotterdam venture building studio Enviu. It can sail at almost 25 kilometres per hour. With the capacity to store 14 kilograms of hydrogen, it can reportedly travel an entire day without charging, which is not the case with electric boats, as they need several pit stops for that.

The charging of vehicles remains a burden before the expansion of the service, though. According to a press release, Shell expects to be able to open the first green hydrogen factory at Maasvlakte in 2023, while Uniper wants to have a second hydrogen factory operational by 2024 at the same port extension. For the time being, the project serves as a demonstration that it is possible to build cleaner water transport, although this will take a little more time and effort.

The new model will be included in the Watertaxi Rotterdam timetable as soon as hydrogen can be bunkered in the Port of Rotterdam. The Port Authority is now developing the infrastructure for this, which will be ready at the beginning of 2023. For the time being, the taxi can be seen during World Port Days on 3-4 September 2022, though it will stay moored.

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