Svitzer to develop methanol-powered tugs for European ports by 2024

2021/11/15 at 2:00 PM

In the first quarter of 2024, the vessels in the European ports will be towed by the new type of tugs to be powered by green methanol. The innovative boats will be jointly developed by Svitzer, a dedicated subsidiary of Maersk, in a partnership with Robert Allan, the Canadian major naval architect company.

As the world’s leading towage operator, Svitzer intends to be on the frontline of the decarbonisation of these harbour services. To this end, the Denmark-based provider has decided to focus on developing fuel cell technology, especially green methanol, as a reliable alternative to conventional diesel fuel. “Fuel cells will be applicable as main propulsion power for tugs earlier than for larger vessels and further, the time to build a tug is significantly less than for a container vessel. We consider this project a significant step in Svitzer‚Äôs ambition to lead the decarbonisation of towage and an important contribution to the joint efforts to develop solutions with a positive impact on the environment,” said Ingrid Uppelschoten Snelderwaard, Global COO at Svitzer.

Combination of solutions

The project of a methanol-powered tug is in line with the decarbonisation strategy of Maersk, Svitzer’s parent company. After building the innovative boat, the Danish shipping line will apply knowledge and operational experience of methanol feasibility onto larger ocean-going container ships. Svitzer and Robert Allan will jointly work on designing a new tug, which will be equipped with a combination of fuel cells, batteries, storage/handling systems, electric drives and propulsion units.

“The fuel cells can be used to charge the batteries when the tug is mobilising and when the tug is berthed, minimising the need for expensive shoreside charging facilities. The combination of fuels cells and batteries will deliver a self-sustained tug with longer endurance and with less operational constraints than a pure battery-powered vessel,” Svitzer specified.

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