VIDEO: Robert Allan and MTU develop LNG fueled shallow draft push boat

Written by Nick Blenkey
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The RApide 2800-G pushboat is based on the proven shallow draft RApide 2800-Z2 pushboat that currently operates on the Amazon River system

LNG is increasingly becoming a maritime industry “fuel of choice,” for the maritime industry, not only for its potential in reducing environmentally harmful emissions, but also for its reduced cost when compared to other fossil fuel-based alternatives. However, limits on its availability have hindered its uptake in some parts of the world. Now though, Vancouver B.C. headquartered naval architect firm Robert Allan Ltd. reports that some clients are actively engaged in developing the required infrastructure to make natural gas more readily available.

In response, Robert Allan Ltd. and MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH have developed the first natural gas fueled shallow draft pushboat design – the RApide 2800-G pushboat.

This challenging project is a preliminary design which utilized the proven shallow draft RApide 2800-Z2 pushboat that currently operates on the Amazon River system. The vessel design was modified to suit a complete LNG propulsion system with two 746 kW MTU 8V4000M55R-N Tier III gas safe main engines.

MTU is also acting as the system integrator and will also provide the complete LNG package – LNG tank system and an integrated ship monitoring, LNG control and safety systems.

While keeping the existing hull shape, the design was reconfigured to allow the installation of the LNG tank while still providing adequate space for other machinery and a comfortable work environment for the crew.

The lower crew cabins, mess, and galley have been moved up a deck and the deckhouse enlarged. While challenging the project complies with the rules for the gas system hazardous zones of a compact 28 metter tug. To ensure redundancy there are two independent tank connection spaces attached to the LNG tank, one for each engine.

For continuous operation on a river system, the design accommodates a crew of 14, with master and chief engineer eachhaving single cabins and double cabins for the balance of the crew.

The vessel is designed to comply with DNV-GL rules with the following notations:


The design is currently undergoing an “approval in principle” review.

Particulars are as follows:

Length overall: 28.0 m
Beam, molded: 10.5 m
Depth, molded: 3.2 m
Draft, maximum: 2.5 m

Approximate tank capacities:

LNG (gross): 70.0 cu.m
Fuel oil: 19.2 cu.m
Potable water: 26.6 cu.m
Water ballast: 47.9 cu.m

Sewage: 5.6 cu.m

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