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A Cleaner Cargo Solution Than Trucks

In the Netherlands, transporting cargo is commonly done on rivers, rather than on roads like here in the United States. In the past, all of these cargo boats had to run on diesel but, now, a Dutch company called Port-Liner has begun making zero-emission electric barges.

The Port-Liner barges, which will begin being used later this year, use all-electric, renewable energy to power their movement. The barges contain electric batteries that can be charged by plugging a power source into the boat or by swapping out the boat’s batteries. Since the batteries are removable, shipping companies can choose to swap empty batteries with ones that are fully charged to avoid downtime.

The new electric barges are also cost-effective across the board. These barges are less expensive to build than diesel barges; they have a simpler design that requires fewer parts. Over the long term, the more simple design of this barge will also help ensure that less maintenance will be needed. There are more factors that will help these electric barges save companies money in the long term, namely that they are self-driving and can carry more cargo than diesel barges. For those looking to outfit their current barges with this electric power, rather than buying all new ships, there will be some cost to make the switch. However, if the cargo ship owner is in a country that is a part of the Paris Agreement, they will have to make the switch to renewable energy eventually.

Switching to renewable energy like these new electric barges is a must for countries that are a part of the Paris Climate Agreement. The Paris Agreement, which contains specific environmental goals designed to limit global warming, requires all industries to get to zero emissions within the next 32 years. Cargo transportation is one of the industries that will need to make the switch, as it is an industry that currently runs on high polluting diesel.

In Europe, much of the diesel used for shipping is used on boats, as they commonly transport goods via waterways. The new electric cargo ships are an important development in the world of cargo transport, as it is a relatively simple and affordable solution to emission reductions. Because this zero-emission solution seems so promising, some are suggesting that the United States consider using the electric boats as well.

In the U.S., cargo is commonly transmitted by trucks, which create huge amounts of emissions across the country. Cargo trucks consume massive amounts of fuel, sending many pollutants into the air. Some are suggesting that the U.S. take a closer look at transporting by water so that goods can be transported by this new renewable technology. While U.S. industries generally use trucks, the U.S. has plenty of rivers and lakes that could support water routes.

Using these new electric barges would be a much cleaner cargo solution than using trucks. These new barges are zero emission, practical, and affordable. Unlike many other countries, however, the U.S. is no longer a part of the Paris Agreement. So U.S. industries are not legally obligated to reduce their emissions according to the agreement. Still, many U.S. companies that are independently environmentally conscious are looking to find new, cleaner solutions like these electric barges to help them do business more ethically.


Gerard Vaughan's picture
Gerard Vaughan

Well this is a very fine thing -but - the article places these things in the "zero emission" category. Of course this is completely untrue.  They might have a chance of getting-away with that were they roofed with Solar panels. - which actually Did charge the battery by a signifcant ammount.   But how about this for an idea.   There could be vertical poles which could carry large sheets of fabric to gain propulsion from the wind !  Could it ever work ?!    Also there are amazingly effective wind Turbine-Alternators here in Bulgaria.  Being only .5 - 1m diameter, and about a metre long - they are a "Ducted fan" design - they supply energy at about 1/40th the cost/unit' compared to a typical "Windfarm turbine".