Alternative fuels

The Port of Rotterdam has a key position in production and logistics chains of fuels. The port accommodates the densest concentration of refinery capacity and storage tanks for both oil and biofuels. The Port of Rotterdam Authority wants to use this position to make the production of fuels cleaner by stimulating, initiating and facilitating various activities.

Clean and climate-friendly

Cleaner, more climate-friendly fuels, such as Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), are attractive alternatives for road or inland shipping traffic compared to fuels like diesel and petrol. Specifically, production of hydrogen, electricity, LNG, methanol and Gas to Liquid (GtL) for example is currently based on the fossil raw material natural gas. These fuels are very clean in use since they emit fewer hazardous products such as SOx, particulate matter and NOx than diesel and petrol, thereby benefiting the air quality and the climate. Fuels that are clean and climate-neutral both in production and use are also under development, for example LNG from vegetal raw materials or hydrogen produced by electricity generated by windmills. In short: alternative fuels present a clear added value to air quality and climate.


The port plays a major role in the entire chain of transport fuels, from production to usage. The Port Authority wants to develop the alternative fuel chain parallel to the existing fuel industry. This is already happening now with various companies producing biofuels in Rotterdam. These are mostly mixed with fossil fuels in order to meet legal obligations. The Port of Rotterdam Authority also foresees commercial opportunities in production and storage of other alternative fuels because of the increasing demand for them as a result of the focus on a sustainable society.

The Port of Rotterdam is well suited for the development of alternative fuels, due to the presence of so much infrastructure and so many fuel facilities. There are a great many world class companies here that produce, store, tranship, distribute and trade fuels. In the long term, the entire chain from production to usage can switch to alternative fuels. Moreover, these need not just be those mentioned above: one example is the electric cars already on the road.

The Port of Rotterdam Authority stimulates the use of clean shipping fuels by offering incentives to inland shipping (e.g. the Environmental Ship Index and the discount on port dues for inland shipping) and by lobbying to reduce the sulphur content in shipping fuels, for example (IMO 2020), as well as by contributing to research on climate-friendly production technology. The Port Authority often acts as co-investor for the nautical infrastructure in commercial port projects and thus also has some influence.

For example, in collaboration with a number of Rotterdam parties (Uniper, BP Refinery Rotterdam, TNO, Stedin Infradiensten, Smartport), research is presently being conducted on the use of ‘green hydrogen’ in the refining process, meaning the use of hydrogen as an alternative source of energy in the processing of fossil fuels. Large energy companies and car manufacturers all over the world also came together during the World Economic Forum (January 2017) in the newly founded ‘Hydrogen Council’ in order to facilitate consultation on the possibilities for using hydrogen.


Would you like to know more about this subject? Please contact:

Ankie Janssen
Program Manager Alternative Fuels

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