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‘Cleanest Ship’ meets goals

An evaluation of the results of the ‘CREATING’ project shows it has met its overall objectives, demonstrating how specific emission reduction technologies can be applied to inland navigation, leading to a significant reduction of harmful emissions.

Victoria © CREATING

Today’s inland navigation is already a safe and environmentally friendly mode of transport. At a meeting in Rotterdam on 28 May 2009, partners in the FP7 CREATING project explained how they used ultra low sulphur fuel, a selective catalytic reduction unit and particulate matter filters to further decrease the emission of nitrogen oxide, particulate matter and sulphur oxide in an operating barge, to create what they call the world's ‘Cleanest Ship’ for inland navigation.

A large amount of maritime cargo is transported to the hinterland via inland waterways. Continental cargo, however, is still mainly transported by road. Many experts now consider that increasing traffic, road congestion and air pollution urgently require the exploration of other transport solutions.

The CREATING project, funded under the Union’s Sixth Research Framework Programme, has been a driving force behind the Cleanest Ship. Comprising 23 partners (research institutions, shipyards and relevant industry organisations from nine European countries), CREATING’s aim has been to stimulate inland waterborne transport in an economical way and improve its competitive position versus road transport.

CREATING has focused much of its attention on the Rhine and Danube corridor, the north-south connection from the Netherlands to France, and the east-west canals in the north of Europe.

A triumph for European partership

The Cleanest Ship is the result of close collaboration between the pan-European research project ‘CREATING’ and European energy giant BP. Work was carried out using the 70-metre-long, 1300-tonne lube oil barge Victoria as a demonstration platform. The Victoria, operating in the Port of Rotterdam and Antwerp areas, is owned by BP and managed by Verenigde Tankrederij.

CLEANEST SHIP researchers say they have now clearly demonstrated how Victoria’s environmental performance on inland waterways could be significantly improved, thereby becoming more competitive when compared to road transportation.

Janez Potočnik onboard the Victoria in 2008 © Peter Gutierrez
Janez Potočnik onboard the
Victoria in 2008
© Peter Gutierrez

Speaking at an important Cleanest Ship milestone event in 2008, EU Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik noted, “Waterborne transport is by far the most fuel-efficient transport mode. Just one 1300-tonne barge like the Victoria can take hundreds or trucks off our roads. But we can still do more to increase the environmental performance of these ships.”



Cleanest Ship numbers

  • Nitrogen oxide (NOx) reduced by at least 82%
  • Particulate matter (PM) reduced by by 97%
  • Sulphur oxide (SOx) by almost 100%

These results mean vessels equipped with CREATING systems can meet strict ‘Euro V’ emission standards that already apply to road transport. The Euro V limits are in fact much tougher than current waterborne transport emission targets.