Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Seattle to unveil the world's first hybrid tugboat

Foss Maritime of Seattle has announced it will construct the world's first hybrid tugboat. Why a tug boat? Seattle uses a variety of tugboats in their city tourist / maritime trade. In an effort to promote the idea of cleaner greener boats, the project was partially funded by the Port of Los Angeles.

A Memorandum of Understanding was made between the Port of Los Angeles and South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) in an effort to develop less polluting technology for harbor craft operations within the L.A./Long Beach port harbors. As a potential solution of satisfying the Memorandum of Understanding, The Port matched a $1,000,000 California Air Resources Board (CARB) grant to create a $2,000,000 program to help develop less polluting technology.

One of the biggest benefits of the hybrid will be eliminating the loss of fuel used when they're simply idling in harbor. Currently, tug boats use nearly half their fuel idling just waiting to be used while docked. With the new rig, however, "instead of idling the main engines while in standby mode when alongside a customer vessel awaiting orders from the pilot, the hybrid tug will run on battery power with the main engines shut down."

The result of the hybrid will be reduced fuel consumption, carbon, nitrogen oxide, and sulphur dioxide emissions; and noise. The look and feel to the boat will be almost identical to its sister Dolphin-class tug boats coupled with diesel generators and feature a modified engine room accommodating two 670 horsepower battery packs and two 335 horsepower generators.

"Tugs are the backbone of ports worldwide, and the 'hybrid' tug Foss will produce is a first in the industry,"

said Geraldine Knatz Ph.D. executive director of the Port of Los Angeles.

"Because the air emissions reductions are absolutely extraordinary, this is the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that our port encourages and welcomes in line with the San Pedro Bay Clean Air Action Plan."

Foss Maritime isn’t the only bold boating commence. Germany's Beluga Shipping will unveil the world's first hybrid container ship this fall.

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