EST-Floattech participates in German Consortium led by TU Berlin
It seemed impossible at first, but a German consortium led by Gerd Holbach, a professor at Technischen Universität Berlin (TU Berlin), has shown with a new vessel that fuel cells as a propulsion option will soon no longer be only a theoretical concept. Since 2016 the consortium has been pioneering the development of Elektra, the first hydrogen fueled tug in the world.
The basis of the newly developed hybrid system is the battery package, consisting of 242 DNV-GL approved GO1050 modules with a total capacity of 2.5MWh, delivered by
EST-Floattech, as well as three maritime fuel cell systems (NT-PEMFC, 100kW peak power each).
Although the power of the battery and the fuel cells will be used together to power the electric motors, for complete redundancy the two powertrains are entirely independent systems.
Years of in-depth research has paid off. The final design of Elektra is nothing short of impressive. The 20m-long pusher with a beam of 8.2m and a draft of 1.25m will deliver
an electric power capacity of 21,200kWh for a round trip from Berlin toHamburg. It is also emissions free. On hydrogen, Elektra will be able to travel a minimum of 100km (62 miles) over a 16-hour day or longer.
Elektra is designed to push the cargo barge Ursus, developed by the Design and Operation of Maritime Systems department at TU Berlin, and numerous other cargo boats. Elektra is to
be used primarily for transportation of goods on the Berlin to Hamburg and inner-city routes in Berlin. Its most important transportation task will be carrying Siemens turbines, which
need to be shipped from the production site in the center of Berlin to the Western Harbor or to Hamburg.
The energy storage system (ESS) delivered by EST-Floattech has a raft of integrated safety features. Its unique active balancing
and passive safety system is applied at the module and string level. Heat is dissipated by a simple off-the-shelf aircon unit. The battery racks are a favorable option as they can easily be installed in a modular fashion.
At a total cost of approximately US$14.2m (€13m), the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure has contributed approximately US$8.85m (€8m), while
the Projektträger Jülich and the National Organization for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology have also made contributions.
The German consortium comprises Behala, Berlin harbor’s warehousing and logistics firm; Herrmann Barthel shipyard; Ballard Power Systems, a supplier of fuel cells; Anleg,
a supplier of hydrogen tanks; ship electronics expert Rostock; Imperial logistics, a shipping company; EST-Floattech; and TU Berlin.
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