Aramco partner Enviu launches hydrogen-electric water taxi

One of the Netherlands' largest cities Rotterdam was host to the launch of the first ever hydrogen powered water taxi – a commercial boat that carries passengers using a fully integrated hydrogen-electric drivetrain. Being a user of zero-emissions fuel, the 'MSTX 22' taxi makes the technical and business case for a zero emissions maritime future.

The water taxi is planned to be fully operational in 2023 once a permanent refueling station comes online, with the aim of transporting an estimated 20,000 commuters per year. The passenger experience, in terms of time and speed will be no different from Rotterdam's conventional water taxi's only now there will be no noise from the vessel nor the smell of diesel.

Indeed, the aim is to expand the number of MSTX 22's, through fleet operator Watertaxi Rotterdam, which currently operates a fleet comprising 22 boats and aims to become zero-emissions itself by 2030. “We hope the success of this pilot encourages other companies with similar vessels and operational profiles to follow suit, as well as those with larger vessels,” said Khalid Al-Moaili, Manager of Technical Services at Aramco Europe, who attended the unveiling alongside colleague and Process Consultant Dr. Tony Picaro.

Support for the project has come through Aramco Europe's donation of $250,000 to Enviu, an innovation company that looks to build world changing companies based on sustainability. Support was given to Enviu's THRUST entrepreneurial platform, aimed at validating and building viable clean tech solutions to accelerate the energy transition within the maritime industry. This not only supports the push towards net-zero but also delivers commercial benefits.

Commenting on the water taxi launch and Aramco's support, Maarten Fonteijn, Venture Builder at Enviu said, “At Enviu we believe that working together is the start of the new economy. The decarbonization of the maritime sector is a huge challenge and innovators like Enviu need to work together with companies such as Aramco that have the technical expertise and financial means to make serious positive impact. We are thankful for Aramco's support for our initiatives towards a zero-footprint maritime sector.”

Enviu works on the deployment and demonstration of hydrogen and other potentially zero-carbon fuel applications in every-day life, highlighting capabilities to mass audiences and underlining the benefits, both technical and commercial, for a clean maritime industry. By doing so, its activities complement Aramco's own strategy for hydrogen development and uptake.

Aramco itself is focused on continuing support to organizations like Enviu, whose work falls under the Company's citizenship pillars of people and planet. At an academic level, Aramco Europe's facility in Paris focuses on downstream research, in particular fuel formulations and engine design, as a means of developing new technologies that can support the aim of cleaner more environmentally friendly vehicles and transport systems.