Hybrid Electric Inland Barge in the Netherlands

Context of Transport Climate Action

MCS is an inland shipping terminal operator with three locations in the north of the Netherlands. The company ships containers between its terminals and the port of Rotterdam. It has recently invested in one of its contracted ships to improve their environmental performance. This was partly done to continue the good relation with the dairy producing company FrieslandCampina, which is striving to reduce the emissions of its logistic transport chain.

The vessel in question, the ms Nadorias is operated by Sendo Shipping, and it used to have a conventional setup with one diesel engine. This has been changed to a hybrid configuration: the diesel engine was kept in place but an electric engine powered by two generators was added. By choosing a hybrid setup, the ship can now be powered in different ways. About 85% of the time, she can be powered by the electric motor that is driven by one of the diesel generators. When more power is required, the second generator is also switched on. The barge only needs to use its diesel engine when a lot of power is required (e.g. when sailing fully loaded against the current).

With this hybrid setup, the ship can reduce the fuel consumption by approximately 20%.


The Nadorias was refitted with a hybrid power generation system. The diesel engine of 1,700 hp was kept, but an additional electric motor of 400 kW powered by two generators of 215 kW has been installed on board. It is the first time that an existing inland vessel has been refitted to have a hybrid power generation system.

This refit has reduced the inland vessel’s fuel consumption. With a regular setup of a direct drive, there is a mechanical connection between the diesel engine and the propeller. Because the ship’s speed varies (or the propeller’s revolutionary speed varies), the engine’s revolutionary speed also varies. This means there are many situations in which the engine does not operate in optimal working conditions. This inefficiency is greatly reduced by the diesel-electric drive because there is an electric transmission between the generator and the propeller. Electrical transmission enables a more optimized pitch between speed and propeller compared to mechanical transmission.


The Nadorias was refitted by Koedood, a company specialized in the power generation of inland vessels. The ship was taken out of service for a short period in which the new components were installed on board. The ship was then brought back into service and she was ready for operational service immediately.

The challenging part about the hybridization of the Nadorias is that it was the first time ever than an inland vessel was refitted like this. Even though there are numerous examples of hybrid ships in deep sea shipping applications, the complexity of working with an existing vessel should not be underestimated.


  • 20% reduction of fuel consumption, which results in both reduced Greenhouse gas emissions and reduced fuel expenses;
  • Less noise on board the vessel; and
  • Demonstration of the effectiveness of hybridization in inland shipping.

Potential for scaling up

There is quite some ambiguity about the effectiveness of hybridization of inland vessels. There was doubt whether there would be a large savings potential, because there are additional components and transmission losses. The Nadorias demonstrates that it is indeed possible to refit a vessel and to reduce the fuel consumption as well as the CO2 emissions.

Selected references











Netherlands, Mitigation, Freight, Technology


MCS, Sendo Shipping, Koedood


Sebastiaan van der Meer sebastiaan@sendo.shipping.nl

The Nadorias is capable to operate with the same amount of power that’s installed in a reggular truck. The high efficiency and simplicity of the system is giving excisting inland vessels the opportunity to reduce CO2 in a simple way. We are sailing 95% of the time in hybrid mode. The system is in one word “fantastic”.
-Sebastiaan van der Meer, Owner Sendo Shipping