Port-Liner plans to construct up to 11 fully electric-powered inland container vessels for service between the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
These emission-free barges are nominated for construction at Asto Shipyard, according to BRL Consultants. The European Union has provided a €7M (US$8.6M) grant for the vessels, which will be able to achieve automated sailings without crews. They will serve the ports of Rotterdam, Antwerp, Amsterdam and Duisburg.
The barges will be battery-powered and capable of transporting 20 to 280 containers. Netherlands-based Port-Liner has also created its own battery pack technology that will enable retrofitting of existing barges with conventional power into zero-emission units.
Six larger newbuildings will be 110 m long and 11.4 m wide accommodating 270 containers and can remain underway for 35 hours with power from four container batteries. Five consorts will be 52 m long and deployed between Budel on the Belgian Dutch border and Antwerp port.
Large companies have already booked the barges for employment, BRL Consultants said.
Lack of an engineroom has provided a loading area some 8% larger than comparable conventional barges and even fully-fledged feeder ships.
The four containers holding the batteries can be recharged or exchanged in four hours while loading or unloading.
Onshore recharging is provided by Eneco, which uses sources from renewables, windmills and solar power.
The barges are designed by Frank Laupman of Omega Architects.
The six larger barges are estimated to remove the equivalent of 23,000 trucks annually from the roads.