Bodewes Binnenvaart B.V., the inland waterway shipyard of the Dutch company Damen Shipyards Group and the Qa Group, said they have developed a self-propelled barge that would be powered by liquefied natural gas and use an air-lubricated hull to reduce fuel consumption and pollution.
The companies said permission to use LNG as fuel on this vessel was granted by the Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ADN-UNECE), meaning the vessel can travel on international inland waterways.
The so-callled EcoLiner
could be used to haul bulk commodities or containers and the companies said “we expect this new concept to appeal to shippers of consumables particularly, oil companies and logistic operators keen to get their cargo off the roads.”
They said while an LNG/air lubricated hull system can be fitted to any inland waterways ship, at the moment it has been designed around a 110-meter-long ship.
The vessel is equipped with four generator sets so some can be turned off and power reduced, for example, when going downriver.
The companies said they are already exploring markets in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, but also are going further afield in Brazil, China and India. - Chris Dupin