World’s first electric container barges

The world’s first electric container barges will soon sail from European ports according to the Guardian.

The world’s first fully electric, emission-free and potentially crewless container barges are to operate from the ports of Antwerp, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam from summer 2018. The vessels, designed to fit beneath bridges as they transport their goods around the inland waterways of Belgium and the Netherlands, are expected to vastly reduce the use of diesel-powered trucks for moving freight. Dubbed the “Tesla of the canals”, their electric motors will be driven by 20-foot batteries, charged on shore by the carbon-free energy provider Eneco.

The barges are designed to operate without any crew, although the vessels will be manned in their first period of operation as new infrastructure is erected around some of the busiest inland waterways in Europe. About 23,000 trucks, mainly running on diesel, are expected to be removed from the roads as a result. The barges are being developed by Port Liner, which believes it could produce about 500 barges a year to revolutionise the freight industry, although the electric motors and batteries could also be retrofitted into older boats. The barges would be the first in the world to sail on carbon-neutral batteries and only the low bridges in the low countries prevent them from being loaded with more goods.



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