Sunday, February 25, 2024

America’s first all-electric tugboat delivered to Crowley

Crowley has recently taken delivery of the eWolf, which is the first all-electric ship assist harbor tugboat in the United States. This marks a significant milestone in the company’s efforts to promote sustainability and reduce carbon emissions.

The eWolf was designed by Crowley’s engineering services team to operate with zero emissions while providing the complete performance capabilities of a traditional tug.

This project was made possible through a collaboration between Crowley and federal, state, and local government partners. They all share a commitment to improving air quality through the use of battery energy for the vessel, as well as port technology. As part of this initiative, a shoreside microgrid charging and storage station has been installed at the Port of San Diego.

“The eWolf will provide services through its advanced vessel control technology and first-in-class energy features while providing the safety, quality, and reliability that Crowley and our mariners are known for,” said James Fowler, senior vice president and general manager of Crowley Shipping. “We are thrilled to reach this important achievement for our company and the U.S. maritime industry through the collaboration with our partners.”

ABS Class eWolf, which was built at Master Boat Builders at its shipyard in Coden, Alabama, is 82 ft (25 meters) long and has a beam of 40 ft (21 meters). It is equipped with bow and stern electric winches and has a bollard pull strength of 70 tons. The vessel has no exhaust stacks, giving the pilot an obstruction-free, 360-degree view of the surroundings.

In addition, it is fitted with a 6.2-MWh modular battery system, which can be upgraded as new technologies are developed. It has also been designed to provide two ship-assist jobs in the harbor per charge.

The ABB propulsion system, powered by two 2,100-kW motors, is responsible for the vessel’s top speed of 12 knots. The battery pack provides the energy for the system, and the vessel also has two small diesel generators onboard for emergency use or to travel farther than battery power would allow.

The electric tugboat will have a significant impact on reducing emissions. According to EPA calculations, the tug will generate 178 tons less nitrogen oxide (NOx), 2.5 tons less diesel particulate matter, and 3,100 metric tons less carbon dioxide (CO2) over the first ten years of its operations. This is equivalent to removing 350,000 gallons of gas from use, which is quite impressive. The vessel uses ABB’s innovative, integrated electrical propulsion system.

“The eWolf demonstrates where the maritime industry can go, in terms of both innovation and sustainability, with solid partnerships between owners, designers, suppliers, and shipyards,” said Garrett Rice, president of Master Boat Builders. “We are proud to have partnered with Crowley in the construction of the eWolf and look forward to seeing her at work in San Diego very soon.”

After transport and final demonstration trials, the 82-foot harbor tug is now getting ready to operate at the Port of San Diego upon completion of Crowley’s microgrid shoreside charging station. The harbor operations are expected to start in the spring of 2024.