Kotug starts zero-emission barging to Cargill via electric tugboat

Written by Nick Blenkey

Swappable energy containers are an integral part of E-Pusher tug design

Kotug, based in Rotterdam, and Vancouver, B.C.-based Shift Clean Energy are providing a zero-emissions barging solution that will bring cocoa beans from the Port of Amsterdam to agribusiness giant Cargill’s cocoa facilities in Zaandam, avoiding an approximately 20-kilometer road journey.

Kotug will deploy an all-electric E-Pusher type M tug and four barges to transport the beans.The vessel is equipped with swappable battery energy containers from Shift Clean Energy (Shift). The containers are part of the revolutionary design of the vessel and will utilize Shift’s unique battery swapping and charging stations.

The E-Pusher type M tugboat can push barges with up to 4,000 tons of cargo. The E-Pusher Series consists of three types: Small, Medium and Large, respectively for transportation in inner cities, over short distances and on larger inland waterways.

Using a modular a modular approach and lean assembly methods, Kotug has reduced the construction time of its E-Pushers by more than half compared to traditional push-boats.

The efficiency of the E-Pusher tug is enhanced by using the Shift swappable energy Changing the container at one of Swift’s battery hubs on-the-go is done in a few minutes. The empty batteries can be recharged at night, taking advantage of possible energy surpluses in the grid.

Shift provides swappable energy containers that utilize its zero-emission ESS battery systems which range from 70 kWH to 6 MWh. The modular systems are charged through clean power generated from (bio)gas, hydrogen, and other renewable energy sources either onboard the vessels or at Shift’s dedicated PwrSwäp energy stations, maximizing uptime for vessel owners.

“We launched the E-Pusher concept in 2021, and the smaller type, the E-Pusher S (the ‘CityBarge One’), is already successfully deployed in several inland waterways and cities,” said Ard-Jan Kooren, president and CEO of KOTUG International. “I am very proud that an international company like Cargill is our first customer for the E-Pusher type M. The vessel is designed for transportation like these and guarantees zero-emission logistics and a significantly approved efficiency. As a result, we can support a broad range of industries to turn a part of their supply chain emission-free without extra costs. The applications of the E-Pusher are endless and vary from the transportation of (construction) waste to construction materials to all kinds of products and packages.”

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