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Wednesday, June 2, 2021 

The recent announcement of the addition to Canadian company HaiSea Marine’s tug fleet gave the first insight into the Vancouver-based designer Robert Allan Ltd (RAL) battery electric tugboats and their potential to significantly reduce or even eliminate exhaust emissions in ports.

The HaiSea contract includes a trio of zero-emissions 70t bp ElectRA 2800 harbour tugs. Using clean hydroelectric power available from the local grid, these tugs’ 6102kWh battery capacity will permit most missions to be accomplished on battery power alone, realising near complete elimination of CO2 and other potentially harmful exhaust emissions from harbour tug operations.

Each ElectRA 2800 vessel expected to eliminate approximately 1,700 tonnes of CO2 per annum, thus resulting in total annual savings in excess of 5,000 tonnes compared to even the cleanest modern diesel-powered alternatives. This roughly equates to the carbon emissions of nearly 1,000 cars and is illustrative of the possibilities for some of the world’s busiest marine hubs.

The series now encompasses the ElectRA 2100, 2300, 2500, and 2600-T concepts, with each offering a distinctly different take on battery electric propulsion.

The ElectRA 2500, delivers 70t bollard pull and includes backup diesel gensets for fire-fighting and extended endurance, but in a more compact hullform. Boasting approximately 3,200 kWh of batteries, these battery electric tugs are capable of a wide range of missions including escort.

The ElectRA 2300 recognises that most battery electric tug applications will be harbour operations, and hence by sacrificing some overnight accommodation, these compact tugs feature in excess of 3,500 kWh of battery capacity in a flush deck design, while still being capable of bollard pulls in excess of 60t and maintaining some backup diesel generator capacity.

The ElectRA 2100 eliminates the main gensets altogether, thus also eliminating many of the space consuming and costly diesel, exhaust, ventilation, and cooling systems. Although a small get-home generator remains in the deckhouse, these are pure battery tugs and their maximum battery capacity is in excess of 5,000 kWh. Designed to reduce costs associated with battery electric tugs to a minimum, the batteries on this 50t bp design are of a special type that is also highly economic.

Finally, the ElectRA 2600-T offers nearly 4,000 kWh integrated into a 70t bp tractor tug design, fully capable of fire-fighting and escort, effectively the tractor tug counterparts to the ElectRA 2500 (ASD) class.

As with any RAL series, each may be customised to individual clients’ needs. According to RAL, customisation of a battery electric tug is critical to ensure that the battery capacity meets the energy needs without excessive investment. To this end, RAL's proprietary RAptures program will analyse individual operations, calculating CAPEX and OPEX, payback periods, and CO2 reductions.

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