In a joint project, Covestro and the logistics service provider Nederlandse Particuliere Rijnvaart-Centrale Cooperative (NPRC) plan to convert the salt transport fleet on the Rhine to hydrogen-powered ships.
The project is part of the RH2INE Initiative (Rhine Hydrogen Integration Network of Excellence) of the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Dutch province of South Holland. The aim is to establish a climate-neutral transport route on the Rhine-Alpine corridor, which will contribute to the implementation of the European "Green Deal". Covestro and NPRC are supporting the development of a hydrogen infrastructure at ports and loading stations along the Rhine to help accomplish this. The first two zero-emission ships are scheduled to operate between the Netherlands and Covestro's three Lower Rhine sites as early as 2024.
Salt is the most important raw material in terms of transport volume for Covestro sites in North Rhine-Westphalia. As part of RH2INE, Covestro and NPRC gradually want to make the transport of this raw material emission free. To this end, the partners initially plan to put two hydrogen-powered barges into operation from 2024, with more ships to follow. The initial focus will be on the technical and economic feasability of the project. As part of this process, the technical design of the hull will also be optimized so that the ships can be used during low water. The feasibility of using green hydrogen from Covestro's own chlorine electrolysis to refuel the inland waterway vessels is also being investigated.