This is a first in the inland navigation sector. The Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine (CCNR), the international authority responsible for regulating navigation on the Rhine and in Europe, has granted the first European authorisation in the inland waterway sector for the use of bio-CNG (compressed natural gas) as a primary source of fuel in the Green Deliriver project.
The global engineering group SEGULA Technologies and its partner GRDF, supported by a consortium of 12 partners, have initiated this pilot project since 2018 to enhance and develop the first hybrid electric/bioNG freight boat. This innovative solution for decarbonising the river shipping sector – thanks to the environmental advantages of bio-CNG – is part of a circular economy approach for the entire Seine Axis.
“The authorisation granted by the CCNR is a new key step in the Green Deliriver project, an innovative project that is in line with the challenges of decarbonisation and improving the air quality of river transport“, emphasises Anne-Christine Lombardi, Director of Collaborative Projects at SEGULA Technologies.
Bertrand de Singly, Director of Customers and Territories at GRDF Ile-de-France, explains: “BioNGCC, a renewable fuel derived from the local production of biomethane, is widely acclaimed by local authorities and transporters. It also has its place in the river sector and will be able to count on the deployment of dedicated stations, in Ile-de-France as well as throughout the country.
The retrofitting of a self-propelled boat of the “Campinois” size in 2023, a key stage in the validation of this motorisation, should enable it to participate in the opening ceremony of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. After obtaining this European authorisation, the consortium chose Paris as the centre of its experimentation. The final objective of this first project is to link the major logistics hubs of the Seine Axis: the ports of Limay, Gennevilliers, Achères and Bonneuil-sur-Marne, with the centre of Paris.
The next phase involves the construction of a new pusher with a hybrid electric/bio-CNG engine, and a barge that will be operational in 2025, before a more significant development in the following years, with a view to the 900 ships that currently navigate the Seine Axis.
Born in 2018 under the impetus of SEGULA Technologies, GRDF and the urban community Grand Paris Seine & Oise (GPS&O) with the support of seven partners*, the Green Deliriver pilot project, was conceived as a response to road network congestion and the explosion of e-commerce.
The Green Deliriver project also responds to circular economy issues. The bio-CNG consumed will come from the methanisation of waste collected along the Seine, reducing noise pollution, CO2 emissions by 85% and fine particles by 98%, compared with combustion engines. The transport of goods to the heart of the cities by river avoids about 40 lorries on the roads, thanks to a logistic capacity of 1,000 tonnes.
The project has received financial support from ADEME, VNF, the Ile-de-France Region, CITEPH and the Banque des Territoires.
* The consortium now has 12 partners (in bold the historical members who initiated the project in
- CCID78, the Versailles-Yvelines Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- CHS, Chantier de la Haute Seine
- COALIS, inland waterway transport company
- GPS&O, Grand Paris Seine & Oise Urban Community
- GRDF, a subsidiary of Engie, natural gas distributor
- HAROPA PORT, a major river-sea port on the Seine axis
- NGV Powertrain, a start-up engine manufacturer
- SEGULA Technologies, engineering group
- Sigeif, Syndicat intercommunal pour le gaz et l’électricité en Île-de-France
- Syctom, the metropolitan household waste agency
- VNF, Voies navigables de France