Damen Launches Its First Hybrid Tugboat
Damen Shipyards, a Netherlands-based company, has launched its first diesel-electric hybrid tugboat. It is the ASD Tug 2810 Hybrid. Iskes Towing and Salvage will be the launching customer (the first customer to use it).
The signing ceremony took place yesterday (October 23), at Offshore Energy in Amsterdam.
Damen Shipyards claims that this boat will offer diesel fuel savings of 10–30%, and that it reduces emissions by 20–60%.
The second hybrid vessel is slated to become available from stock at the end of 2013.
It Helps Green Technologies to be as Commercially Attractive as Possible
Erik van Schaik, Design & Proposal Engineer at Damen Tugs, said: “In the past many green solutions were simply too expensive for the tugboat market. We were very mindful that this vessel had to cut fuel and emissions, but at the same time it had to be positioned at an attractive price for the market. We wanted to make being green commercially attractive too.”
Not only is the tugboat a hybrid, but it also features solar panels and energy efficient products.
“Solar panels are added to the deckhouse on the Damen standard version and these are used to charge the 24V battery packs for starting the engines and emergency power for navigation lighting and radio equipment,” Green Car Congress reports. “Other green initiatives on the vessel include LED lighting, and a special paint coating, making the vessel more environmentally friendly and clean for at least five years.”
Getting Innovative Green Technologies Going
While environmental friendliness and being economical go hand in hand when the right technology is used, and even more importantly in the right way, (and often is cheaper overall when you consider public health and other environmental costs), people are most likely to adopt “green” technologies when they are affordable “at the register,” so to speak.
Early adopters of environmentally friendly technologies help them to get off the ground because they test them on behalf of their manufacturers, and this testing is essential to the improvement of technology.
Technologies usually start out both impractical and expensive — there are few exceptions to this rule. The technologies which are considered cheap now started out expensive, including computers, automobiles, refrigerators, and air conditioners, and only a few wealthy people could afford those things.
Those few people made it possible for manufacturers to carry out real-life studies of them so they could be improved, and, not only that, but could eventually enjoy the benefits of economies of scale. Production volume generally has to start out small, and some people will have to pay the high price for that as a start, and then production volume can grow because of those early adopters.
Production volume cannot be increased without demand, and production volume needs to be increased to drive prices down so that everyone else will be willing to buy the new technologies.
The renewable energy and alternative fuel vehicle industries need this, as well.
It’s great to see hybrid tugboats breaking onto the scene. Hopefully early adopters will help lead to these becoming the norm.