Transfer of the emission-free Water Taxi

Together with the University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer, AG Reederei Norden-Frisia is participating in the German-Dutch project “H2Watt”. Among other things, the project is concerned with testing a specially developed catamaran as a “Green Water Taxi”.

Successful transfer journey

This emission-free Water Taxi was recently transferred from Emden to Norddeich. On the approx. 40 nautical mile route (equivalent to 74 km), the special prototype was already able to demonstrate some of its special capabilities. “Due to the very energy-efficient hull shape of the boat (so-called Parametric Fast Hull), the transfer journey was carried out purely battery-electrically non-stop without recharging” reports Prof. Michael Vahs from University of Applied SciencesEmden/Leer, who led the transfer journey. In a suitable section of the journey, it was also possible to demonstrate the high speed potential of over 16 knots predicted in the design phase. The transfer journey also benefited from the special suitability for shallow water navigation. With a draught of only about 30 centimetres, even very shallow sections in the mudflats could be passed, shortening the journey time accordingly.

From Norddeich, the boat is to undertake test trips to Juist and Norderney together with the project partners in the coming weeks. “Within the framework of the project, we would like to determine the everyday suitability of this boat and propulsion concept for island traffic,” says shipping company director Carl-Ulfert Stegmann.

Goal – emission-free shipping in the Wadden Sea

In the project, a particularly environmentally friendly and emission-free watercraft was to be designed and built for use as a water taxi. The design of the hull form comes from Dietrich Wittekind, Ship Consult, from the predecessor project MariGreen. It follows the basic idea of entering emission-free shipping in the Wadden Sea National Park.

More and more small boats, with high-powered petrol outboard engines and a relatively higher consumption per passenger and route, are being used for fast passenger transport in the Wadden Sea. “The CO2 pollution per transported passenger is about 12 times higher than transport by ferry. The current completely unregulated increase in water taxis is not in line with the Lower Saxony Wadden Sea National Park,” says Prof. Dr. Jann Strybny from University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer, pointing out the desolate CO2 situation with the current water taxis.

Solution – emission-free Water Taxi

As a result, a catamaran was constructed that, at 8 metres long and 6 metres wide, offers a lot of space for passengers, luggage, bicycles or cargo units. The hybrid propulsion system has a modular design. The core is formed by two battery-electric outboard motors with a total of approx. 100 kilowatts of drive power and a usable battery capacity of approx. 82 kilowatt hours. Depending on the driving profile, a so-called range extender can provide additional range by using a fuel cell to recharge the batteries while driving or by providing the power directly to the engines. The fuel used is methanol, which is synthesised from “green” hydrogen and thus enables climate-neutral propulsion.

For special requirements, the catamaran can also be equipped with an additional sailing system, e.g. for silent cruising for nature exploration or an exclusive yacht ambience for corresponding tourist concepts. The catamaran can be used at slow speed with little power and a long range, e.g. for supply trips and nature-oriented tourist concepts. In a particularly efficient glide, however, speeds of 16 knots can also be achieved. This corresponds to the maximum speed permitted in the national park.

Background: H2Watt project

The Water Taxi is being tested and further developed within the framework of the German-Dutch project “H2Watt – Production, Storage, Transport and Use of Hydrogen in the Wadden Sea”.

The project “H2Watt” is coordinated by MARIKO GmbH and the Dutch business association “FME” and funded within the INTERREG V A programme Germany-Netherlands with money from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and national co-financing from Germany and the Netherlands. The aim of the funding is to promote the use of hydrogen technology as a building block for a climate-neutral energy supply.