New Zealand has just got its hands on an incredible electric tugboat named “Sparky”, manufactured by the Dutch maritime manufacturer, Damen Shipyard. The idea behind this much-awaited advancement is New Zealand’s zero-emission policy and to make the ports of Auckland emission-free by 2040. The maiden name of this electric tugboat was “RSD E-Tug 2513,” which was then transformed into Sparky. New Zealand is always concerned with testing new technologies that enhance sustainability and safety.
This watercraft is charged by an “Echandia E-TUG energy storage system (ESS)” and is grounded on Toshiba SCiBTM LTO cells. We can easily assess its huge electrical capability from the fact that about 80 battery racks enclosing 2,240 batteries are incorporated into this huge boat. This would collectively provide 2785kWH of energy on board. This electric tugboat is one of its kind in Auckland. However, in some other parts of the world, this technology is already owned.
It is worth mentioning that the encapsulated battery system has efficient performance characteristics, including the lightweight nature and a high-rated safety system that can carry up to 80 tons of load and requires just a one-time charge for this. However, the charging of the battery systems takes up to two hours. Also, it can function continuously for a straight 30 minutes on a single charging shift.
Speaking about the measures taken for environmental sustainability, a study conducted by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in 2020 revealed that the maritime industry has contributed an increase of 10% carbon emissions between the years 2012 and 2018, which is definitely a cause of concern for environmental activists. Thus, this electrical tugboat is expected to considerably reduce this ratio in the coming years, hopefully.
The CEO of the Ports of Auckland, Roger Gray, said, “Sparky is the first e-tug of its type in the world and was a truly innovative project for us.” Her arrival marks a big step towards the ports’ decarbonization of operations and towards our long-term emissions reduction goals”. Coupled with that, engineers have estimated the expected life of Sparky to be 25 years, and that is no less for such a sophisticated electrified system.
It is reported that carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by up to 512 tons annually as compared to diesel emissions and will also be three times cheaper than the operating cost of diesel.