According to the Independent, the Netherlands and Belgium are launching the world’s first zero-emissions, autonomous container barges dubbed the “ Tesla of the canals ”.
The five barges, which are launched this summer, are set to vastly reduce the use of diesel-powered lorries transporting freight, with 23,000 expected to be taken off the roads as a result.
Each fully-electric boat will transport 24 containers weighing up to 425 tonnes from ports in Amsterdam, Antwerp and Rotterdam.
The vessels, made by Dutch manufacturer Port Liner, will be powered by 20ft batteries that provide 15 hours of continuous power.
Ton van Meegen, Port Liner chief executive, told logistics website The Loadstar: “The containers are charged onshore by carbon-free energy provider Eneco, which sources solar power, windmills and renewables.”
The bigger boats will be able to carry 280 containers and run for 30 hours without needing to recharge. It is estimated they alone could lead to a reduction of 18,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Although they will be initially manned, the barges are expected to pilot themselves once new infrastructure is built to accommodate them.