In a strategic move towards greener maritime operations, Ebusco, in partnership with Zero Emission Services (ZES), is set to provide innovative charging technology for zero-emission inland vessels. The collaboration between the two Dutch companies marks a milestone in the pursuit of sustainable transportation solutions.
Ebusco, holding a 40 per cent stake in ZES, is a prominent player in the electric bus manufacturing sector. ZES, on the other hand, focuses on offering swappable energy containers known as ZESpacks for powering ships. Drawing inspiration from the automotive industry's swappable battery concept, reminiscent of Nio, ZES introduced its vision in 2020, with Ebusco joining forces in 2022 after acquiring a significant share from founding partner Engie. This alliance aimed to leverage Ebusco's expertise in batteries and battery management systems to catalyze advancements in the maritime domain.
After a competitive tender process, this collaboration has culminated in a noteworthy achievement. ZES has confirmed an order for ten Docking Solutions from Ebusco, with an option for an additional five units. These Docking Solutions are designed to facilitate the charging of ZESpacks, enabling continuous power supply to the vessels during their journeys.
Beyond on-the-go charging, ZES sought a solution for supplying shore power during loading and unloading operations. To fulfill this need, Ebusco's offerings include an innovative Discharge Station and a Charging Station. The Discharge Station, designed as a portable plug-and-play solution, is not directly connected to the public electricity grid. Instead, it functions in tandem with energy containers, providing flexibility in relocation. Furthermore, the Charging System, integrated within a 20-foot container, can concurrently charge multiple energy containers. Notably, this system can also contribute to balancing the power grid during periods of inactivity.
Bart Hoevenaars, CEO of Zero Emission Services, commended Ebusco as a “reliable partner with a deep understanding of batteries.” He expressed that the procurement of Docking Solutions, a Discharge Station, and a Charging Station aligns with the company's zero-emission goals, marking a significant stride towards sustainable maritime operations.
Ebusco's entry into the partnership in 2022 was driven by the belief that the transition to electric propulsion in the inland waterway industry could be expedited, thanks to the industry's advanced landscape and growing acceptance of electric transport. Peter Bijvelds, CEO of Ebusco, noted that their involvement in ZES could catalyze the adoption of electric inland shipping, building upon their extensive experience in heavy-duty batteries within the bus industry.
Today's order underscores the successful collaboration between Ebusco and ZES. Bijvelds expressed enthusiasm about the prospect of working with ZES once again, leveraging their battery expertise to drive the electrification of inland shipping. While specific vessel orders powered by ZESpacks were not disclosed, the Alphenaar, an electric ship implemented with this innovative concept, began operations in 2021 for the Heineken brewery.
ZES has previously outlined ambitious plans to enable around 150 inland waterway vessels to utilize ZESpacks by 2030. This vision involves establishing a network of “open access charging points,” which will replace the existing battery containers and foster the growth of sustainable maritime practices. The collaboration between Ebusco and ZES exemplifies a progressive step towards achieving these goals, marking a remarkable achievement in the evolution of green maritime solutions.