Energy transition

National Growth Fund supports ZES concept with 50 mln investment for inland shipping sector

21 April 2022
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Zero Emission Services (ZES) - co-founded by the Port Authority in 2020 to stimulate, among other things, electric waterborne transport - has received a €50m investment from the National Growth Fund for the accelerated implementation of their innovative system solution for inland navigation.

The investment will be used for the development of 75 battery containers for maritime application (ZES-packs), 14 docking stations where the ZES-packs are loaded and 45 electrified inland vessels.

Alphenaar charges interchangeable container battery
Alphenaar charges interchangeable container battery (Photo: Ries van Wendel de Joode)

Bart Hoevenaars, CEO of ZES explains: "This is not only good news for the inland shipping sector and for ZES, but above all leads to a better living environment. Now truly clean sailing will be possible, without CO2, nitrogen and particulate matter emissions. It is also silent. The National Growth Fund supports skippers in investing in an electric power train. Zero Emission Services can now invest in the most expensive part, the battery containers, so that these skippers only pay for use. The support will also enable the realisation of publicly accessible charging stations along some crucial waterways for inland navigation in the Netherlands. By making it possible to invest in these three things simultaneously, the well-known chicken-and-egg problem for green transport is broken. We thank the Ministry of I&W for their cooperation in the past year in going through this careful process together. Together with them, we are convinced that the National Growth Fund will strengthen the competitive position of this important transport sector for the Netherlands with this support."

Accelerated scaling possible

If there is no simultaneous investment in electrically powered ships, battery containers and charging infrastructure, the breakthrough towards zero-emission will not happen. ZES-packs cannot be used without ships with an electric power train and without charging infrastructure they cannot be recharged. Cooperation and coordination between the parties involved is crucial. The investment of 50 million makes it possible  to invest simultaneously in the charging infrastructure, the energy carriers and the ships with an electric power train.