This custom-designed workboat has battery-powered electric propulsion.
Launched in July 2016 at Dutch builder De Haas Maassluis’s shipyard, the WN 21 operates for Amsterdam water company Waternet, one of 120 vessels in its fleet. The 18m multipurpose crane vessel/tug features an innovative propulsion and electrical installation by the Netherlands-based superyacht systems supplier Floattech.
A workboat crawls along Amsterdam’s murky canals to haul out abandoned bicycles, plastic refuse, mattresses, sunken scrap and a host of other discarded objects. The
crane tug stops and starts along the waterway, shunting up to five floating garbage containers. But there is no wasteful idling, no black clouds of exhaust among the Elm trees, no noisy accelerations waking up houseboat residents and no foul fumes wafting over the city’s tourists. This custom-designed workboat has battery-powered electric propulsion!
To meet the demand for less polluting vessels, Waternet designed, together with naval architects and engineers C-Job, the new build to meet Amsterdam Municipality’s increasingly
demanding standards. Considering only trucks meeting the strictest EU requirements for emissions can enter the city, it stands to reason that vessels should also meet high
“On Waternet’s conventional vessels, the diesel propulsion engine often kept idling while the vessel was stationary,” notes Cor Meedendorp, Managing Director at Floattech. An idling engine consumes approximately 25 percent of the fuel consumed at full capacity. “This resulted in relatively poor combustion with the corresponding emission of harmful gases. And by putting the vessel in its work gear and then just navigate forward and backwards, you got black smoke and a filthy stench.”
In 2009 Floattech, already known for its yacht electrical installations, registered for the project through a European tender. Waternet selected Floattech to deliver the propulsion and electrical installation. As well as reduced emissions, the system saves Waternet running costs through fuel efficiency and the innovative batteries provide extended lifetimes.
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