The world’s first hydrogen-fuelled tug was launched at the end of May, beginning a new era of green inland towage
Hermann Barthel’s shipyard in central Germany launched €13M (US15.9M) Elektra to provide zero-emissions towage as part of its lighthouse project to produce a hydrogen-fuelled inland tugboat to operate from Berlin Westhafen.
So far, Elektra’s hull is finished, the elevating wheelhouse is in place and the fuel cells are on deck. The control room has been set up and the battery room is equipped with 250 modules weighing more than 20 tonnes.
Elektra is being further equipped and fitted out at the quay of the shipyard ready to commence operations in Q3 2021. Construction work continues in the wheelhouse and the control station is also being installed. The hydrogen tank system to supply the fuel cells will be commissioned in July.
After construction and commissioning is completed, Elektra will be inspected by the Waterways and Shipping Administration, then transferred to its home port of Berlin Westhafen at the end of August. The final ship’s certificate or the joint certificate can be issued, and the testing can begin.
Elektra will undertake voyages around Berlin’s waterways in different pushed train configurations.
The biggest challenge in the construction process was cabling the electrical components, power generators and monitoring and control technology. Almost 2 km of data and power cables were laid across the entire vessel.
This project has a total expenditure of €13M, of which €8M (US$9.8M) was funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. It was co-ordinated by Project Management Jülich and the National Organization for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology.
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