Electric-powered boats help clean-up Chinese waterway

Written by Marine Log Staff
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One of the electric-powered workboats designed to pick up floating debris on waterways around Suzhou in China

APRIL 18, 2018 —The ancient city of Suzhou, located in Jiangsu Province near Shanghai, China, is home to more than 10 million people. Often called the “Venice of the East,” the 2,500 year old city is noted for its many canals, rivers, lakes, ancient stone bridges, pagodas and gardens. Suzhou Creek, which flows through the city to Shanghai, was at one time said to be the most contaminated waterway in China, filled with sewage and garbage. Over the past decade, the river has undergone a major transformation and is an acclaimed environmental success story.

As part of the clean-up program, the Suzhou River Management Administration commissioned the construction of 177 vessels designed specifically to remove floating debris from the water. The administration specified electric-powered boats for the project because of their environmentally friendly footprint, and after a competitive evaluation the builder selected Torqeedo, Gilching, Germany, part of the Deutz Group, as the supplier of electric motors for the boats.

Torqeedo recently completed outfitting the entire fleet, which includes 18 nine-meter steel catamarans with two Cruise 4.0 outboards, 22 seven-meter steel catamarans with twin Cruise 2.0 outboards and 137 five/six-meter wooden boats with Cruise 2.0 outboards. The boats were designed and built by China Ship Scientific Research Center. They are owned by the Suzhou River Management Administration and operated by private contractors. The vessels use specially designed equipment to scoop up and capture floating items in the water.

“This successful large-scale deployment of our proven Cruise-series electric outboards is an important validation of Torqeedo’s clean, green technology,” said Christoph Ballin, CEO of Torqeedo. “China is taking environmental cleanup seriously and is at the forefront of adopting electric propulsion to reduce air and water pollution,” Ballin added.


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