A series of four fully-electric, zero-emissions towboats announced this week are set to become the first built in North America as vessel owners and operators continue to explore new avenues to decarbonize.
ndustrial Service Solutions (ISS) announced it will provide Zeeboat, LLC (Zeeboat™) with general contract, project management and vessel support services for the manufacture and delivery of four fully electric towboats to become available for charter in 2025.
The purpose of the vessels is to support container transit with a zero-emissions towboat solution. These will be the first electric towboats built in North America. Zeeboat ™ and ISS also intend to work together on future decarbonization of ports through electrification, as the towboat charging infrastructure lends itself to expansion.
The design of the fully electric towboats will be based on The Shearer Group, Inc.’s (TSGI) proven hull design for a 95 ft. x 34 ft. towboat. This hull shape was developed by TSGI using advanced fluid dynamic calculations and backup up by vessels in service.
The design has been proven to increase water flow to the propeller and increase overall efficiency of the barge/towboat combination by more than 10 percent over more traditional inland towboat designs. This hull design when coupled with an azipod drive system will improve overall transport efficiency by more than 30 percent when compared to conventional towboats and represents the highest industry standard for efficient and safe operations for inland river towboats.
Shift Clean Energy will provide leading edge battery energy storage systems (ESS) to support the fully electric towboat operation. ISS is Shift Clean Energy’s sole channel partner for the United States.
ISS CEO Wade Stockstill commented: “ISS is honored to have been chosen as the general contractor supporting the build of these world-class towboats and are excited to be at the fore front of the industry through its transition to a more sustainable future.”
ISS Director of Business Development Jessica Lewis commented: “We are excited to support Zeeboat ™ in its mission to become a significant owner of fully electric vessels for charter. Together with our industry partners, we have developed these state-of-the-art and technologically advanced towboats and look forward to supporting decarbonization efforts for our inland waterways.”
Shift Clean Energy CEO Brent Perry commented: “The message the marine industry received in Glasgow at COP26 was clear: this is the time to make change. Shift couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with visionary leaders like ISS and Zeeboat™ who are making electrification happen now and helping the industry get to zero emissions.”
Joshua Sebastian, Engineering Manager of The Shearer Group says “We at TSGI are excited to participate with this outstanding team in ushering in the new age of towboat and harbor boat operations for the marine industry.”
Zeeboat™ CEO Jonathan Braun commented: “We look forward to working with ISS and Shift Clean Energy on this important project. The fully electric towboats that Zeeboat™ will make available for charter will be vessels for change, applying commercially proven, leading-edge technologies that are both environmentally friendly and economically advantageous, reducing operating costs as well as carbon emissions.”