“ELEKTRA”: world’s first emission free hydrogen push boat

Pusher behala elektra + ursus barge


TU Berlin


Tugs & Workboats



Year of realization


Battery capacity

2,5 MWh

Battery solution

Green Orca


Hydrogen fuel cells



Participating in a 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.

Independent energy systems

The basis of the newly developed hybrid system is the battery package, consisting of 242 DNV 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. In battery-electric mode, the tug will cover 65km (40 miles) over an 8-hour period before recharging is required.

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 deliveran 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.

Pusher behala elektra
Behala elektra schwimmt 27052021 1024x576
Pusher behala elektra + ursus barge
Bild hinten 3r1u antriebsstrang mit boot
Bild hinten 3r1u
Bild vorne 3r1u

Hydrogen canal tug “Elektra”

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 tobe 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, whichneed to be shipped from the production site in the center of Berlin to the Western Harbor or to Hamburg.

“We have arranged for onboard and remote monitoring of the installation so everyone can check the performance.”

Diederick Stam – Technical director and Founder EST-Floattech

Elektra: Start für erstes emissionsfreies Schubboot from Verlag Der Tagesspiegel on Vimeo.

Support from Ministry of Transport

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.

Strong partners

The German consortium comprises Behala, Berlin harbor’s warehousing and logistics firm; Hermann 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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