IWTS

Emission-free vessel concept for inland waterways developed

Today there are no inland waterway vessels operating in Sweden. Current limited traffic consists only of IMO vessels. Using the inland waterways (IWW) to a larger extent would create positive benefits according to authorities, goods owners, shipping companies, ports and freight forwarders. How can SSPA develop an innovative logistic concept for coastal and inland shipping in Sweden? Is it possible to look beyond current limitations in existing business models, legislation, goods flow characteristics and vessel concepts? SSPA’s experts and researchers studied this in one of the research projects and has now developed a business concept with an emission-free vessel, electrified, operating between the coastal port and a nearby inland port with high frequency. Read the full report: Battery electric inland waterway vessel.

A battery electric inland waterway vessel concept has been developed for Swedish inland waterway operations on Göta Älv. The vessel concept was developed as part of Interreg North Sea Region IWTS 2.0 project (Inland Waterway Transport Solutions). 

The vessel is designed to carry 160 TEUs (twenty-foot containers) between the port of Gothenburg and the city Trollhättan, with a frequency of five times/week. The vessel has the largest possible dimensions allowed for passage through the locks in Trollhättan, and is designed for lean manning, ice class 1C and entirely electrically propelled. 

The vessel has a battery capacity of 6.1 MWh, which is capacity for one single journey between the two ports. The amount of batteries is large and will be an expensive investment. There is a potential to use a battery with up to 20% smaller capacity since the load is very low and the number of cycles low. The potential depends e.g. on the battery chemistry and would have to be verified by battery manufacturers.

The study shows that it is possible to transport a large number of containers on pure electric power if the distance between the ports is reasonably short. Even though the focus for the study has been on Göta Älv, the concept ideas could be applicable in other Swedish IWW-zones as well, such as Mälaren.

The research project IWTS 2.0

IWTS 2.0 runs between 2017-2020 and involves partners in Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, United Kingdom and Sweden. SSPA is the only Swedish partner. The aim of the IWTS 2.0 project is to “mobilise potentials and capacity to move freight to yet-underused waterways”.

The Swedish part of the IWTS 2.0 project focuses on the development of innovative logistics concepts for coastal and inland shipping that looks beyond current limitations in existing business models, legislation, goods flow characteristics and vessel concepts. Apart from Interreg North Sea Region, also VINNOVA, the Sweden’s Innovation Agency, and Region Västra Götaland support the Swedish part of the research with funding. Collaboration partners in Sweden have been University of Gothenburg (School of Business, Economics and Law), Avatar Logistics and Seadvise. 

Results achieved so far in the ongoing project

We have created an understanding for possible logistics concepts of inland waterway shipping in Sweden. Today there are no inland waterway vessels operating on Swedish inland waterways. Current limited traffic consists only of IMO vessels. During 2019, a Multi-Actor-Multi-Criteria-Analysis (MAMCA) was performed, assessing five actor groups’ viewpoints on three different business concepts for inland shipping on Göta älv and Vänern. The actor groups were authorities, goods owners, shipping companies, ports and freight forwarders. The business concept found to be most preferable was an emission free shuttle, electrified, operating between the coastal port (Gothenburg) and a nearby (<100 km) inland port. The idea with the emission-free shuttle is to use the available inland waterways as an emission-free option for transporting containers between inland goods owners and the coastal port, where the close distance makes it possible with a high frequency (5 roundtrips/week). 

Today there is no transshipment of containers between ships and inland vessels at Port of Gothenburg, only between ship and road/rail. Using the inland waterways to a larger extent would reduce the need for heavy land traffic in the urban, as well as the port area, and thereby also reduce emissions from trucks. The emission free shuttle concept includes an inland port area (e.g. in Trollhättan), where additional logistics services, such as stuffing and stripping of containers, as well as a container depot would create positive benefits for customers. The battery electric inland waterway vessel, should be possible to apply in a logistics settings like the emission-free shuttle. 

Ongoing work addresses the life cycle costs of the vessel concept. A master thesis was performed during the spring 2020 and a final report will be available soon.

More information about IWTS 2.0 is available at the project website https://northsearegion.eu/iwts20

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Report: Battery electric inland waterway vessel

Illustrations

The battery electric inland waterway vessel developed by SSPA. Illustration: SSPA.
 
The battery room and the generator room. Illustration: SSPA.