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Hybrid electric pushboats will debut on Amazon River system


The construction of a new fleet of diesel/battery electric push boats has begun at the Belov Engenharia Shipyard for Hidrovias do Brasil. They will be providing terminal assistance on the Amazon River system.

Vancouver-based Robert Allan, which has designed the push boats, said that the construction work has recently begun and the first vessel is scheduled to be delivered in 2022.

The new vessels, expected to be the world’s first battery electric shallow draft push boats, are being built to Robert Allan’s RApide 2000-E design. They are 20.4 metre long with a  beam of 10 metres and a depth of 3.2 metres. The minimum operating draft will be 2.2 metres.

Each boat will be fitted with a DC grid diesel-battery electric propulsion system, two diesel generators, two L-Drives and a large battery bank (600 kWh initial installation, with capability to scale up to 1800 kWh). They will be certified as inland navigating vessels by DNV.

Image: Robert Allan Ltd.

Satellite image showing the changing river patterns of the Amazon River. Image: NASA, public domain.