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World's first electric, emission free container barges to set sail this summer

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It has been announced that the world’s first fully electric, emission free and possibly crewless container barges will operate from Antwerp, Amsterdam and Rotterdam, commencing from Summer 2018. 

World's first electric barge

They have been designed to transport goods around the inland waterways of Belgium and the Netherlands which will hopefully reduce the use of diesel-powered trucks for moving freight. As a result, it is believed that around 23,000 trucks are expected to be removed from the roads.

The vessels will be powered by 20ft batteries which will be charged whilst back on shore by the carbon-free energy provider, Eneco, giving them 15 hours of power. 

Ultimately, the barges will operate without any crew, however, vessels will be manned throughout their introductory period as new infrastructure is built around the waterways.

It is expected that by August 2018, five barges which are approximately 52m long and 6.7m wide will be in operation. These barges will be able to carry 24, 20ft containers weighing up to 425 tonnes.

Plans are in place to then release six larger barges which will be 110m long and carry around 270 containers. The additional barges will run on four battery boxes, giving them 35 hours of power.

According to the latest statistics from Eurostat, 74.9% of freight in the EU is transported by road, 18.4% by rail, and 6.7% along inland waterways, although the use of water routes is now definitely increasing. 

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Tags: Engineering
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