Photo: EST-Floattech.

Source: EST-Floattech/

After almost two years of construction at the shipyard Hermann Barthel GmbH in Derben and the three-day transfer to Berlin’s Westhafen, the testing of the innovative hydrogen fuel cell push boat Elektra has now begun. It will serve as a role model as the first zero-emission vessel, since its energy system is designed to be transferable to a wide range of inland and coastal vessel types.

Under the project management of the Department of Design and Operation of Maritime Systems (EMBS) of the TU Berlin, the development and construction of the ship also involved BEHALA – Berliner Hafen- und Lagerhausgesellschaft (logistics), Schiffswerft Hermann Barthel, BALLARD Power Systems (fuel cells), ARGO – ANLEG (hydrogen system), Schiffselektronik Rostock (electric power system), EST-Floattech (battery system) and HGK Shipping (nautical operation).

With 750 kg of usable gaseous hydrogen at a pressure of 500 bar on board and a battery capacity of 2,500 kilowatt hours, the ship has a range of approx. 400 kilometers. In the trade lanes from Berlin Rhine/Ruhr, Hamburg and Szczecin, one additional shore station is needed to supply the Elecktra with hydrogen and electricity.

Both in Berlin’s Westhafen and in the port of Lüneburg, the first shore stations for the hydrogen tanks and the charging current in the required power class of 500 kilowatts will go into operation in 2023.

The Department of EBMS of the TU Berlin and the Industrial and Commercial Park Mittelelbe / H2 Green Power & Logistics GmbH have signed a supply contract for the filling and transport of the tank systems (Multiple Energy Gas Container – MEGC) with green hydrogen until the end of the project duration at the end of 2024.

Initially, the trials will mainly take place in the capital region, but from 2023 onward, they will then be extended to long-distance services in the direction of Hamburg.

With a total project volume of approx. 13 million euros, the project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) with approx. 8 million euros and is coordinated by Project Management Jülich (PTJ) and the National Organization for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW).