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26 Oct 2020, 13:48
Sören Amelang

World's first electric pusher tugboat to start trial operations in Germany

Welt am Sonntag

German researchers and companies are about to test the world's first emission-free pusher towboat on the rivers and canals between Hamburg and the capital Berlin, reports Stefan Seewald in the Welt am Sonntag. The inland water vessel dubbed Elektra, which runs exclusively on electric engines powered by hydrogen fuel cells and batteries, is due to be finished this autumn, said Gerd Holbach, who developed the boat with a team at Berlin's Technical University. "With this canal push boat, we can demonstrate for the first time this hybrid energy concept," Holbach said. "We have created a blueprint that can also revolutionise the construction of cargo, work, ferry and river cruise ships."

Elektra carries 750 kilograms of hydrogen for the fuel cells. Apart from the electric motors, there is no other type of engine on board. In regional operation, the batteries are currently expected to last for about eight hours or 65 kilometres at a thrust load of 1,400 tons. On a supra-regional voyage, Elektra will be  hybrid-electrically powered by fuel cells and batteries, with an operating time of about 16 hours or about 130 kilometres a day. In order to increase the range, the construction of a corresponding refuelling infrastructure is planned, according to the article.

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