ZULU Associates and Flanders Hydraulics have signed an agreement to investigate and validate the energy efficiency of the X-Barge in confined and shallow waters. The aim of the study is to optimise the hull shape of the X-Barge, especially in European canals and rivers and at low water levels, thus enabling the transition of inland waterway barges to zero emissions. The less energy the barge consumes per tonne/km, the more competitive it is compared to fossil fuel powered barges.

The X-Barge is an 85cm ECMT Class IV inland vessel designed for container and dry bulk transport. By using alternative energy sources such as batteries and/or hydrogen, and by navigating autonomously, vessels such as the X-Barge can achieve the economic margin necessary to compete with fossil-fuelled vessels. This will result in a more sustainable and cost effective inland waterways sector.

The benefits of this study will be felt throughout the sector as it moves towards zero emissions, resulting in a more sustainable and cost effective future for inland navigation.

Source: Press release: “ZULU Associates and Flanders Hydraulics investigate the energy efficiency of the zero-emission and autonomous inland vessel X-Barge”