Specifically, the vessel belongs to the France-based Sogestran Group subsidiary Compagnie Fluviale de Transport (CFT).

The project aims to present that fuel cells are a practical and deliverable solution for owners and builders of mid-sized vessels carrying more than 100 passengers or the equivalent freight volumes inland or coastally.

ABB is a member of FLAHSHIPS since January 2019; Therefore the company has been collaborating with Finnish research organization and project coordinator VTT and the provider of clean energy fuel cell solutions Ballard Power Systems Europe to develop an installation enabling a 400kW fuel cell to power vessel operations.


When the fuel cell power plant has been fitted, ABB plans to run the vessel daily, focusing on the refuelling procedures.

In the meantime, tests will provide additional information on developing and optimising the refuelling infrastructure of the vessel.

Matthieu Blanc, COO at CFT, commented

Powering river transport in a sustainable way is a new type of challenge, but it has become vital that we cut emissions on Europe’s inland waterways and specifically in the city centres. With this project, we aim to highlight that emission-free operation is both feasible and commercially viable.

Concluding, the FLAGSHIPS project is supported by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), a public private partnership established under Europe’s Horizon 2020 frameworks to accelerate commercial realization of the technology in a range of transport and energy uses. The three members of FCH JU are the European Commission, fuel cell and hydrogen industries represented by Hydrogen Europe, and the research community represented by Hydrogen Europe Research. Parties involved in the CFT newbuild project also include LMG Marin, NCE Maritime CleanTech and PersEE.