The Dutch company Port-Liner is building two giant all-electric barges dubbed the ‘Tesla ships‘.
The company announced that the vessels will be ready by this autumn and will be inaugurated by sailing the Wilhelmina canal in the Netherlands.
The €100 million ($123 million) project supported by a €7 million subsidy from the European Union is expected to have a significant impact on local transport between the ports of Amsterdam, Antwerp, and Rotterdam.
Port-Liner Chief Executive Officer Ton van Meegen told news source The Loadstar that the barges would be the first in the world to sail on carbon-neutral batteries, and also the only type to house the battery in a container ‘cassette’ that can be stored on any vessel.
“This allows us to retrofit barges already in operation, which is a big boost for the industry’s green energy credentials,” explained van Meegen. “The containers are charged onshore by carbon-free energy provider Eneco, which uses solar, windmill and other renewable power sources. There are some 7,300 inland vessels across Europe and more than 5,000 of those are owned by entrepreneurs in Belgium and the Netherlands. We can build upwards of 500 a year, but at that rate it would take some 50 years to get the industry operating on green energy.”
The battery-powered barges are capable of carrying 280 containers. The first six barges are expected to remove 23,000 trucks from the roads annually in the Netherlands and replace them with zero-emission transport.