Hy-Danube Mobility and Fuel Strategy (HyDS)

Due to its geographical position, the Danube area represents an essential European transport corridor both of North-South and on East-West axes. One of the most distinctive features of the region in terms of transportation is the Danube River as an important part of Rhine-Danube TEN-T Corridor.
The HyDS project aims to develop trans-national environmental-friendly and low-carbon water transport solutions, to promote green hydrogen (renewable liquid and gaseous fuels of non-biological origin) as an alternative fuel, contributing to sustainable regional and local mobility and intelligent water transport.

The Renewable Energy Directive stipulates for 2020 a minimum share of 10% for the fuels from renewable energy sources in the transport sector. Meanwhile, the Fuel Quality Directive requires 6 % reduction of the carbon footprint of transport fuels by the same year.

Inland waterway transport is energy efficient and contributes to the goals of the low-carbon economy, set out in the EU's Transport Policy White Paper. The low noise levels also make it convenient for freight transport in the densely populated areas they transit in and service. However, inland navigation stands to lose its comparative environmental advantage if no action is taken to further reduce air pollutant emissions, in particular in view of the progress the road transport sector due to stringent emissions limits.

Emissions from shipping due to the combustion of marine fuels with a high sulphur content contribute to air pollution in the form of sulphur dioxide and particulate matter, which harm human health and the environment and contribute to acid deposition. Air pollution caused by ships at berth is a major concern for many harbour cities when it comes to their efforts to meet the Union's air quality limit values.

The EU Strategy for the Danube region set out as one of the most important targets for inland waterways the increase of cargo transport on the river by 20% by 2020 compared to 2010.The achievement of this target will contribute to significant increase of air pollutant emissions, so that the inland waterway transport sector will need to make additional efforts to reduce emissions on air.

The idea behind HyDS is to convert renewable electricity to hydrogen, store it in hydrogen refueling stations along the river and then to use it for charging of hydrogen fuel cells ferries, ships and boots. The hydrogen vessels will produce zero direct emissions, with the only waste product being pure water.