Green fleet


Our unique business model and the stipulations of Hamburg’s Parliament form the basis for the implementation of our environmental strategy. As a result, Flotte Hamburg’s city fleet has become a driver of innovation with regard to the testing and implementation of low-emission shipping in Hamburg. Flotte Hamburg considers itself to be a role model for other municipal companies as well as for private ship operators. Our goal is to deploy the vessel fleet in an eco-friendly way in order to permanently reduce the emission levels of hazardous airborne substances that are harmful to health and the climate. These include carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxide (NOX), sulphur oxide (SOX), and particulate matter (PM). Flotte Hamburg has therefore developed a consistent environmental strategy, which is based on a 5-pillar concept.

Are you interested in our environmental strategy? If so, please contact us for additional information.

Low-emission fuels - exhaust after-treatment systems for new vessels - retrofit solutions - innovative propulsion technologies - more efficient vessel operation

Set a good example

By switching to synthetic fuels, we were able to make a fast and direct impact on the exhaust emissions of our vessels. By using low-emission GTL (Gas-to-Liquid) fuel, Flotte Hamburg was quickly able to achieve a continuous reduction in emissions. Used in combination with an optimal engine configuration, today’s fuels emit significantly less nitrogen oxides and a greatly reduced amount of particulate matter. During test runs, the use of GTL fuel reduced PM emissions by 50 percent and the emission of nitrogen oxides by ten percent in comparison to diesel fuel.
The City of Hamburg recently decided to build the world’s largest hydrogen electrolysis plant in the port with a capacity of 100 Megawatts. This could help accelerate the shift towards hydrogen becoming a new and reliable fuel for ships.
Hydrogen could be used on ships in Hamburg in three different ways:

  • As a fuel for the operation of a fuel cell
  • As a fuel for internal combustion
  • As the basis for Power-to-Liquid (PTL) solutions

The operation of our fleet presents us with the following challenge: due to the differing ages and service lives of our vessels, the level of technology throughout our fleet varies greatly. In order to modernise the fleet, we plan to have one or two newbuildings every year. In accordance with our guiding principle, the new ships should be equipped with technology that ensures the lowest level of emissions possible and fulfils EU Stage V at the very least. Flotte Hamburg’s new fire-fighting boat “Branddirektor Westphal” is an example of a vessel that fulfils these requirements.  Built to replace an existing vessel, it is equipped with eco-friendly particulate filters (PF) and nitrogen oxide catalytic converters (SCR), just like the ships we plan to have built in the future.

Emissions can also be reduced by retrofitting existing ships - particulate matter and nitrogen oxide can be reduced by over 90 percent by installing exhaust after-treatment systems or hybrid propulsion systems. The effect of these modernisation measures is even greater when combined with the use of GTL.

Flotte Hamburg sees itself as a test field for new propulsion systems and actively promotes these technologies. The new fireboats, due to be delivered by the beginning of 2021, will be equipped with battery-buffered, diesel-electric hybrid propulsion systems (plug-in hybrids). These ships will be able to operate emission-free in electric mode for between 90 and 120 mins.

Flotte Hamburg is already looking one step ahead: we have developed plans for the building of a passenger vessel for the Port of Hamburg, which will be equipped with a fuel-cell propulsion system. Flotte Hamburg has also been part of the international research consortium HyMethShip since 2018, which aims to achieve zero emissions shipping.

Emissions can also be reduced if the vessels are used in a more eco-friendly manner. Flotte Hamburg has had over 90 percent of our skippers trained in the energy-efficient operation of ships. It is possible to reduce emissions by three to seven percent per trip if vessels are operated in a more eco-friendly way.

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