New Zealand has emerged as an innovator in green tug operations by ordering the world’s first fully electric ship-handling tug
The port operator has ordered a reverse stern drive (RSD) tug from Damen Shipyards that will be used for handling vessels berthing and undocking in Auckland.
This tug will be built to a Damen RSD-E 2513 design with a full-electric propulsion package to go well beyond IMO Tier III emission requirements.
This 25-m tug will be built with around 70 tonnes of bollard pull and capabilities to assist vessels in fore and aft directions.
Ports of Auckland purchased this electric-driven tug as part of its long-term emissions reduction strategy.
“We have set ourselves the goal of being emissions free by 2040,” said chief executive Tony Gibson. “To meet this goal, we needed to find a zero emissions option for our tugs.”
Ports of Auckland’s general manager for marine, engineering and general wharf operations Allan D’Souza said it started looking for low-emissions options three years’ ago.
“When we first looked into buying an electric tug in 2016, there was nothing on the market,” he said. However, Damen has provided a solution, based on a new tug design and electric charging from the automotive industry.
“Because we knew Damen were building hybrid tugs, Damen was a logical choice for a partner when we wanted to develop a fully electric model,” said Mr D’Souza.
“Damen’s willingness to think differently and invest in the necessary research and development has been critical to the success of this project.”
This RSD-E 2513 tug will connect to a 1.5-MW capacity charging station in Auckland using four cables and will be fully charged in two hours.
The tug will have built-in redundancy of its electrical system, with the batteries arranged in strings. If one battery in a string fails, the others carry on providing power for the tug’s port operations.
There is also redundancy in case there is complete failure of the electrical system. Damen will install two 1,000-kW generator sets that will provide enough power for the tug to operate at 40 tonnes bollard pull in the event of an electrical system failure, or if the vessel needs to operate beyond its battery capacity.
Damen has built two RSD tugs, with one operated by Boluda in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and the other by Multraship in Antwerp, Belgium.
Smart tug operations and propulsion technologies will be discussed at Riviera Maritime Media’s Smart Tug Operations Conference on 16 September 2019, in Singapore.