On December 13th, VNF (Voies Navigable de France), the French national authority for inland waterway navigation, hosted the 2nd “Vert Le Fluvial” (Green the River) conference. The event gathered around 250 participants both online and in Lyon, from France and other EU countries. Speakers included shipowners and technology providers, as well as institutional and political stakeholders.
H2SHIPS was represented by project coordinator Christian-Frédéric Berthon (EIFER) and participated during the second roundtable of the conference which focused on the return of experience of professionals engaged in the energy transition. While the other participants in this round table presented specific applications based on alternative fuels, EIFER’s contribution, fed by the EU-level perspective of H2SHIPS, focussed on barriers yet to overcome to facilitate the uptake of hydrogen in shipping, mainly:
- The absence of specific regulations – this may take some more years but at least the pathway is known thanks to the experience gained by the recent introduction of LNG as a fuel;
- Combining the uncertainty about the nature of the future energy mix in shipping with the need to start investing now. Transition fuels and modular concepts presented in this round table offer workable solutions to this dilemma;
- The energy cost: even with the drastic cost reduction expected in the next decades, clean e-fuels will long remain more expensive than fossil fuels, unless we find a socially acceptable way to put a price on the externalities of energy production and use.