China’s 1st all-electric tugboat enters service

China’s first fully-electric tug built by Lianyungang Port Holding Group was delivered for test operation in Lianyungang, Jiangsu, on 16 August 2021.

The ship named Yungang Electric Tug No. 1 features a total length of 35.5 meters, a width of 10 meters, a full-load draft of 3.5 meters, and is designed to achieve a speed of no less than 13 knots.

The vessel is equipped with lithium iron phosphate battery packs which serve as the power source. The total power design is 5,000 kWh, which can provide the tug a speed of 4,000 horsepower, similar to conventional tugboats.

Through the high-voltage shore power system, the ship can be fully charged after 2 hours of fast charging. 

The company estimates that the electric tugboat can save 300 tons of fuel and reduce CO2 emissions by about 900 tons each year.

The use of this type of battery packs instead of conventional fuels can also reduce vibrations and noise and meet the emission requirements of China’s control areas for coastal and harbor navigation.

The technical specifications and regulatory requirements for all-electric ships in China have not yet been clarified. The Ministry of Transport in China has set up a research group for the development and supervision of fully-electric ships.

The group’s aim is to propose practical solutions from laws and regulations, technical specifications and maritime regulatory requirements, and provide policy support in the process of ship project approval, construction and use.

Last month, Florida-based Crowley Maritime Corporation unveiled its plans to build and operate the first all-electric harbor tug in the United States. 

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Crowley’s eTug, which will be fitted with ABB’s electrical power systems and AI autonomous technology for navigational safety, is expected to be operational by mid-2023.