Denmark's First: Electric Tug Vehicle Moors Ships Completely Without Diesel
While electric cars have become commonplace on roads nationwide, the transition to more specialized vehicles, tasked with duties beyond personal transportation, is sometimes less straightforward.
However, the Port of Aarhus can now boast having the first electric tug vehicle in Scandinavia. This means that when ships dock, the ropes – the lines that secure the vessels in place – are drawn in and positioned by a vehicle with two electric motors: one for pulling the ropes and one for propelling the vehicle.
"It's the only right thing to do with 100 percent electric. It's nice to have a good feeling when driving out to moor a ship. We minimize our CO2 footprint as much as possible, and it feels good," says Søren Condrup, port assistant at the Port of Aarhus.
A tug vehicle that both pulls and operates solely on electricity is a novelty in both Denmark and the rest of the world.
The vehicle is developed by Ford and Knebel Drilling in collaboration with the Port of Aarhus, and it has become very natural for Denmark's largest commercial port to be part of the solution when it comes to the shift from diesel to electric.
"In 2030, we aim to be CO2-neutral, and this is an important step in that direction. We have long been looking at various electric vehicles to see if they could form the platform for the electric winch from Knebel Drilling, and we have now found that with the Ford E-Transit. We are proud to have been involved in developing an entirely new special vehicle for the industry," says Anne Zachariassen, COO at the Port of Aarhus.
Without noise and odor
The Port of Aarhus is working to become the most sustainable port in the Baltic Sea, and this transformation requires conscious effort.
So, every time a diesel-powered vehicle can be replaced with an electric one, it is a victory.
"Our vans and cars run on electricity today, but we also use various special vehicles at the port where you can't always just order an electric version. But now, we have this tug vehicle that is 100 percent electric, giving hope that more special vehicles in the future will be designed to run on something greener than diesel," says Anne Zachariassen.
The vehicle operates exactly like the previous tug vehicles, so there is no need for training or introduction for port employees to use it.
For Søren Condrup, who will use the vehicle in his daily work, there will be no upheaval or change to consider—except for one thing.
"On the old tug vehicle, the winch runs on a small diesel engine, making a lot of noise. We always stop it as soon as we can get away with it because we can't communicate with the pilot at all due to the noise. And electric vehicles don't make noise. It's a completely different feeling," says Søren Condrup.
The new electric winch can pull around 800 kilograms, and the Port of Aarhus has approximately 3300 mooring operations each year.
The winch on the new tug vehicle runs on electricity and can pull around 800 kilograms.
The Port of Aarhus has around 3300 mooring operations per year, covering many kilometers in the tug vehicles. Therefore, the fact that this vehicle now runs on electricity instead of diesel makes a significant difference.