Axpo and SGV plan hydrogen passenger vessel on Lake Lucerne

23.02.2024 Axpo is participating in the H2Uri company in Bürglen, central Switzerland. The regionally produced hydrogen will be used to power a passenger vessel on nearby Lake Lucerne, operated by the Lake Lucerne Navigation Company (SGV) AG, it was announced today. In addition to Axpo and SGV, EWA-energieUri and AVIA Schätzle are also involved in the project. 

Axpo continues to actively promote the development of the hydrogen economy in Switzerland, with the country’s largest green hydrogen plant at the Reichenau hydropower plant in Domat/Ems near completion. Now another plant is to follow at Bürglen in the Swiss canton of Uri, with hydrogen production expected to commence in 2025. Among other benefits, the plant’s production will be used to power the first hydrogen passenger vessel on Lake Lucerne. 

Swiss shipbuilders Shiptec AG, pioneers in hydrogen mobility on inland waterways, are responsible for the planning, authorisation and conversion of the vessel, which belongs to the Lake Lucerne Navigation Company. 

SGV Managing Director Stefan Schulthess said: “Conversion of the MS Saphir to a hydrogen fuel cell system will be completed by autumn 2025. This will enable us to reduce CO2 emissions.” The project is supported by Switzerland’s Federal Office of Transport (FOT).

Local anchoring 

For Axpo, as well as its partners AVIA Schätzle, EWA-energieUri and SGV, the project is an important step towards decarbonisation. The sustainably produced hydrogen from the region also fulfils SGV's environmental requirements. 

Axpo CEO Christoph Brand said: "Even if hydrogen is still a young technology the project shows that there is also potential for the targeted use of green hydrogen in Switzerland. Thanks to our local roots and expertise in renewable energies, we can do pioneering work here." 

Preparatory work at the Bürglen hydropower plant for the hydrogen production plant has already begun. Commissioning is planned for the beginning of 2025. When in operation, the facility on the EWA-energie Uri site in Bürglen will produce up to 260 tonnes of green hydrogen a year and have a capacity of 2 MW. 

EWA-energieUri CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of H2Uri AG, Werner Jauch, said: "In order to secure this innovative project on a broader basis, we’re delighted to welcome two additional partners in Axpo and SGV. They both have valuable expertise and exciting sales channels." AVIA Schätzle Executive Board member Alexander Streitzig said a hydrogen refuelling station is also planned in Uri and that the company is looking forward to expanding its energy source portfolio with green hydrogen.

Several hydrogen projects in Switzerland and abroad 

In addition to the plant in Domat/Ems in the canton of Graubünden, Axpo is planning a hydrogen production plant with a capacity of up to 15 MW in Wildegg-Brugg in the canton of Aargau. Axpo is also involved in various projects in Italy, France and Iceland. The company is convinced of the potential of green hydrogen as a clean and renewable energy source which can make a significant contribution to decarbonisation. The company recently demonstrated this in a white paper on the potential of green hydrogen in Switzerland. Axpo’s Head of Hydrogen, Guy Bühler, said: "This exciting collaboration with our partners underlines Axpo’s aim to play an active role in the development of the hydrogen economy in Switzerland.”

Axpo Holding AG

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