Windcat Workboats given Netherlands’ first licence to bunker hydrogen
This permit paves the way for a greener logistics sector and provides a sustainable tool for building towards the region’s renewable energy targets.
Sustainable energy infrastructure, built sustainably
Windcat Workboats, providers of vessels primarily used on offshore wind farms, have been granted the Netherlands’ first-ever permit to bunker hydrogen at the port of Ijmuiden. This is significant not only as a huge step towards more sustainable marine logistics, but also because it boosts a vital green technology that will help increase the region’s renewable energy production.
The licence paves the way for Windcat Workboats and others to use more sustainable hydrogen-powered boats to help produce, install and maintain wind farms. Given the ambitious climate targets in the Netherlands and specifically the ports of Amsterdam and Ijmuiden, the news signals a greener way to build the infrastructure needed for a greener energy industry in the North Sea Canal region.
A forerunner in delivering green logistics
A part of Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB), Windcat Workboats provides specialist vessels primarily for the European offshore wind power industry, including multiple wind farms in the Dutch North Sea.
Their crew transfer vessel the Hydrocat 48 is powered by hydrogen as well as marine gas oil. Currently being trialled in Belgium, the boat will supply crew to and from multiple turbines and Ijmuiden. There, this new licence will make it possible to fuel the boat with hydrogen, providing a cleaner way to service nearby offshore wind farms.
According to Willem van der Wel, managing director of Windcat Workboats, “This licence represents a major step in the possibility to use hydrogen as a fuel for vessels and increasing the sustainability of the sector.”
Towards greener logistics and cleaner renewable infrastructure
Besides its significance for maritime logistics, the move will have repercussions for wider plans to transform the region’s energy infrastructure. The North Sea is a crucial location for providing the renewable energy needed to reach the Netherlands’ ambitious climate targets. In particular, offshore farms in the North Sea Canal region have been tasked with doubling wind energy production by 2030 and providing a large part of the 100 percent of national energy consumption to come from wind and solar by 2050.
In service of these goals, local ports are working towards their own targets, such as the Port of Amsterdam’s deadline to phase out coal by 2030. Bunkering hydrogen for boats such as the Hydrocat 48 therefore presents an important step towards a clean transformation of the sector and energy infrastructure, according to Amsterdam IJmuiden Offshore Ports (AYOP). “Now that the vessels sailing to and from these wind farms can benefit from bunkering hydrogen”, they say, “working on the transition will be made as clean as possible.”
The energy transition in Amsterdam
As the Dutch capital, the home to the Port of Amsterdam and many large industries, Amsterdam has an ambitious set of environmental policies that envision a circular and sustainable future. The city aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 55% in 2030, and almost zero (95%) in 2050. Within the next 10 years, the city will only have emission-free transport by road and water.
The Port of Amsterdam plays a key role in the energy transition. It is scaling up sustainable energy production and storage, is working to attract and facilitate the production of renewable fuels, and is developing the necessary infrastructure for the energy transition.