Ostseestaal launches solar powered electric tourist boat

Ostseestaal is exploring solar powered, electric vessel technology
Ostseestaal is exploring solar powered, electric vessel technology

Ostseestaal, a Germany yard, has produced a tourist boat powered only by electric motors with the significant application of solar panels. From the experience of building and operating this first vessel the company has developed plans for a larger design with more than double the passenger capacity.

Ostseestaal is a subsidiary of the Dutch Centralstaal company with both focusing on accurately cut and processed steel and aluminium kits for ship and boat building. Both designs are based on hydro-dynamically efficient catamaran hulls with construction in aluminium. The smaller design that is currently in operation, the CIG FS 1850 is a low profile design for operating in areas where low bridges might restrict operations and it has seating for 35 plus 15 standing places and space for 15 cycles emphasising its dual role as a tourist vessel and a ferry. An alternative layout can accommodate 60 passengers and two wheelchairs.

The power units are a pair of 10 kW sail drive units that can revolve through 360° to give the craft exceptional manoeuvrability. In addition, there is a 6kW electric bow thruster. The power for these drive units comes from a bank of lithium polymer batteries with the power in these supplemented from the solar panels on the roof of the cabin. There are 52 of these panels covering an area of 66 square metres and producing up to 12.4kWp. The service speed is 4 knots and the full speed is 6 knots according to Ostseestaal.

The larger version that has been developed but not built yet has double the passenger capacity with seating on two decks. The catamaran hull is 26 metres long with a beam of 6 metres and it operates with a draft of just 0.9 metres. The styling is much more modern with a raised pilot house at the bow.

This version is powered by a pair of azimuth sail drive units with each capable of 25 kW and these are supplemented by a bow thruster of 10 kW. The lithium polymer battery capacity is 150 kWh and again solar panels on the cabin top are used to supplement the electrical power. These extend over 68 square metres and the 69 panels can produce up to 21.4kWp enabling the vessel to operate for a day on the stored electrical power.

The service speed here is a little over 5 knots and the top speed is 8 knots. Both craft are built to the requirements of the German Zone 4 standards of the ZSUK which is for vessels operating on rivers lakes and canals. Full safety equipment is provided and the designs can be engineered to meet local requirements.

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