VESSEL REVIEW | All-electric waste cleanup demonstrator vessel launched in France

POLLUTION RECOVERY WEEK

Billed as the world’s most powerful all-electric boat designed for cleaning up pollution in inland waterways and harbours, Efinor’s new demonstrator boat uses patented technology to retrieve up to 500 kilograms of solid waste and 1,000 litres (263 gallons) of liquid waste, including hydrocarbons like oil or fuel spills.

“We got a lot of request from customers (harbor masters, cleaning companies) to provide a new cleaning vessel based on our existing range but with full electrical engines and batteries,” Benjamin Lerondeau, CEO of Efinor, told Baird Maritime.

“The aim is to clean (solid and liquid waste) in harbours, marinas, and protected environmental areas without any noises, exhaust gases (CO2) and engine water cooling output (of thermic engines). The environmental footprint of cleaning operations must be neutral.”

The six-metre (20-foot) aluminium boat, built at Efinor’s shipyard in Paimpol, is designed for operation in inland waterways, harbours and coastal waters, including jetties and tight corners where access is difficult. The versatile platform can conduct suction when stationary or when moving, either forward or in reverse. It can be trailered for road transport and has a single point of lifting for easy launching and recovery.

The vessel is multipurpose, and can perform small-scale towing and pushing, and is fitted with a large pump to collect wastewater from other boats. It can be used for the high pressure cleaning of jetties and pontoons, or even small-scale firefighting.

It creates a surface flow that pulls in debris up to five metres ahead, allowing the cleaning of tight corners or pollution stuck between two boats or under pontoons. The patented clean-up system automatically separates water and hydrocarbons to eliminate emulsification.

There is only one engine to accomplish two different tasks, and at the touch of a button, the ship will go from navigation mode to cleaning mode. Only one operator is required to use the vessel. Every cleaning function is hydraulically powered by pressing buttons.

The vessel is fitted with a 40kWh battery pack coupled with a 25kW electric motor mounted on a saildrive. Based on realistic scenarios, the autonomy period is around eight hours.

For the battery charging, a 3.3kW charger is fitted, taking 12 hours to recharge the whole capacity. It is possible to stack up to three chargers, reducing the charging time to only four hours.

The engine and battery are water-cooled, and engine and battery rooms are ventilated. Maximum security measures have been put in place for safety.

“To achieve the goal to collect hydrocarbons and solid waste with 100 per cent electrical power unit with an autonomy of eight hours without charging and matching all regulatory requests for professional use, the design of this work boat was thought around the electric propulsion, with a weight distribution study, the structure scantling and stability being thoroughly engineered and validated by Bureau Veritas,” said Lerondeau.

“We now know that it is possible to have zero footprint propulsion, and we will extend the 100 per cent electrical propulsion across the whole range of our cleaning vessels.”

Various cleats are located across the boat. The console is fitted with a T-top covered with solar panels to recharge the service batteries and protecting the operator from the sun. A number of storage chests are available.

The vessel is equipped with a nine-inch GPS/sounder display and a fixed VHF with GPS/AIS and antenna. In addition to the navigation lights installed on the T-top, a revolving orange beacon makes the working vessel visible from afar.

At the bow and the stern, vertical cylindrical rolling fenders are fitted to allow for the cleaning of jetties by leaning against them. A Delta fender encircles the boat at deck level.

Hydraulic power is generated by an electric pump powering nine stainless steel cylinders controlling the vessel’s cleaning functions, such as opening the front door, lifting the collected waste into the big bag located on deck, controlling the reverse bucket and others.

The front arms are deployed manually and allow for a wider collection area for debris or oil.

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