With the concept of a "Green Deal" presented by the EU Commission on December 11, 2019, Europe would like to be the world's first continent to be climate-neutral by 2050 and, on the way, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to at least 55% of the 1990 levels by 2030. One sector that receives special attention in the “Green Deal” can be summarized under the slogan “zero-emission mobility”. This not only includes heavy goods vehicle traffic, but also includes personal mobility with efficient, safe and environmentally friendly means of transport. Transport now accounts for around 25% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. This proportion has increased again, especially in recent years. In order to achieve the stated goal of climate neutrality by the year 2050, it is necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by traffic by 90%. Or to put it simply - no successful energy transition without a traffic transition.
While considerable technological advances have been made in road, rail and air transport, shipping and waterborne traffic seem to be somewhat neglected. In its “Factsheet” on sustainable mobility, the EU Commission has set a 25% increase in the volume of transport via inland waterways by 2030 as a goal. Especially the Niederrhein region, together with the cross-border support area EUREGIO Deutschland-Nederland, has a role model function due to the large number of existing waterways and the location of the largest inland port in the world in Duisburg.
In this study, novel, innovative and at the same time climate-neutral concepts for means of transport on water are presented. The focus is on the existing niche of personal mobility, with smaller vessels up to six persons. Watercraft equipped with a novel self-regulating 3D vector hydrofoil system technology and electric propulsion will be described. Equipped with variable energy systems, these can also be used flexibly in various different applications. However, such a concept also allows an application in inland waterways, scaling up to smaller, autonomously driving electrified boats, with a high flexibility in cargo capacity, as well as a high cost saving potential, while at the same time requiring climate neutrality. This ship technology is not intended to compete with conventional transport ships in inland navigation, but to demonstrate an alternative possibility for flexibly transporting smaller loads over short distances by water. Moreover, there are hardly any restrictions for this type of watercraft, e.g. as a result of poorly accessible waterways, or travel at low water levels.
further study partners
The feasibility study AquaFLEAW was co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) within the INTERREG V program Germany-Nederland. It was accompanied by the program management of the Euregio Rhine-Waal.