First fully-electric U.S. towboats set for 2025 availability

Written by Nick Blenkey
Artist rendering of the zero emissions, fully electric towboat.

Artist rendering of the zero emissions, fully electric towboat.

Houston-headquartered Industrial Service Solutions (ISS) reports that the first four fully-electric towboats to be built in North America are planned to be available for charter in 2025.

The towboats are being developed by New York City headquartered Zeeboat LLC to move container barges between terminals that serve containerships in deepwater ports.

ISS is providing Zeeboat, LLC with general contract, project management and vessel support services for the manufacture and delivery of the boats.

PROVEN HULL DESIGN

The design will be based on The Shearer Group Inc.’s (TSGI) proven hull design for a 95- by 34-foot towboat. The hull shape was developed by TSGI using advanced fluid dynamic calculations and data from vessels in service. The design has been proven to increase water flow to the propeller and increase overall efficiency of the barge/towboat combination by more than 10 percent over more traditional inland towboat designs.

According to ISS, the design when coupled with an azipod drive system will improve overall transport efficiency by more than 30 percent when compared to conventional towboats.

“We at TSGI are excited to participate with this outstanding team in ushering in the new age of towboat and harbor boat operations for the marine industry,” said Joshua Sebastian, engineering manager at the Shearer Group.

FULLY-ELECTRIC

The vessels’ battery energy storage systems will be provided by Shift Clean Energy and will support fully electric operation.

“We look forward to working with ISS and Shift Clean Energy on this important project,” said Zeeboat CEO Jonathan Braun. “The fully-electric towboats that Zeeboat will make available for charter will be vessels for change, applying commercially proven, leading-edge technologies that are both environmentally friendly and economically advantageous, reducing operating costs as well as carbon emissions.”

Zeeboat and ISS also intend to work together on future decarbonization of ports through electrification, as the towboat charging infrastructure lends itself to expansion.

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