Home » The First Electric Workboat in Hamburg: Discovering Cöllni

The First Electric Workboat in Hamburg: Discovering Cöllni

by xBJ1R439wX

We are in the port of Hamburg, and it is right here, between cruise and container ships, that Cöllni is positioned, the very first 9-metre-long electric propulsion workboat. This news already makes us understand how true the predictions made recently were, regarding the intention to make internal navigation in the port city completely electric by 2030. But this boat, equipped with a Torqeedo Deep Blue 100i high-voltage electrical system to move silently, is only the first in a long line of green means of transport that will populate the city of Hamburg.

At work for the electric ferries that will sail on the Elbe River

There are already many initiatives within the shipyard, as owner Jörg von Cölln explains. Work is currently underway to introduce electric ferries that will sail the river, knowing that these are a key component in the port city’s public transport network. After all, in a reality like this, water is not only an integral part of daily activities, but it’s also a real economic activity. This is why in these cities, supporting a mobility revolution that takes place gradually both on the road and on the water, is very important. And that includes rivers, canals, and anything navigable.

Large ships pollute the air in Hamburg and the global climate: the E- workboat proves that performance is possible without emissions.

Today, Cöllni 1929 is considered the first fully electric workboat in the city, with its Torqeedo engine and safe, high-performance and noise-free movement. And if large ships pollute Hamburg‘s waters and air excessively, this great little means of transport demonstrates how pleasant and feasible change is in respect of the climate and the environment, on a global scale.

Local change for a global response

The importance of the electric revolution in the maritime sector has to do with a series of numbers and data that can no longer be taken lightly. In fact, we must consider that global maritime transport is responsible for 3-6% of global CO2 emissions. This is a value equal to the aviation sector and is increasing.

The aim is to protect the climate and the surrounding environment, also working on limiting the diesel engines of ships which affect air quality. These figures are very close to the heart of a port metropolis like Hamburg, which has a population of 1.8 million.

But that’s not all: the NABU (Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union) has shown that large ships contain between 250,000 and 400,000 polluting particles per 1 cm³ of air. The concentration that is considered acceptable has a value of 2,500. This is why the 2022 Climate Plan was born, with a strategy that aims to reduce climate and air pollution caused by cruise ships and container ships, but also by ferries, tugs and excursion steamers.

Activities in support of the Climate Plan

First of all, the focus is on the electrification of inland navigation to reduce CO2 emissions. There are 27 ferries on the river carrying around 10 million passengers a year and all are diesel powered. On the Alster, which is a tributary of the Elbe, there are 18 boats carrying tourists, and only 2 are already electrically propelled.

Given the numbers, it’s easier to understand why the birth of Cöllni is so important, which helps huge container ships or cruise ships to dock at the quay with the help of other workboats.Thanks to the Torqeedo Deep Blue engine, power, great maneuverability and above all reliability are guaranteed for a boat measuring 9.15 meters by 3.22 wide. Its job will be to go towing passenger ferries, carrying tools and materials that are also useful for repairs.

“The future of the port,” wrote a newspaper about the Cöllni and her Deep Blue electric propulsion system.

At first glance the boat is a green iron ensemble with a small cabin and the towing rig on deck. But thanks to its engine, which avoids producing noise and smoke (typical of diesel engines), it’s possible to glide on the water in a completely natural and pleasant way.

Cölln himself said he was surprised by the results and performance, also thanks to the Torqeedo on-board computer which displays the vehicle’s battery charge level. According to the estimates and tests, the autonomy of the battery clearly depends on the type of tide: if travelling against the current with a full load, the boat can sail for two hours.

Where the ship’s diesel engine once rattled and smoked, now runs a quiet, emission-free Deep Blue Torqeedo electric motor.

The motor drive is also silent and emission-free, which is ideal not only for protecting the environment, but also animals and people. That is why this type of water navigation means is considered ideal when applied mainly in urban environments and sensitive areas, such as Amsterdam, Hamburg and Copenhagen.

Safe innovations, the key to a green future

Cöllni therefore works without generating CO2 emissions and without making any noise (as far as the engine is concerned). And looking around on the waters of the area, you can also spot a police boat powered by a Torqeedo electric motor. Two small steps forward towards a condition of total cleanliness expected by 2030.
The intentions of Jörg von Cölln and his shipyard are very clear, not only for Hamburg, but on a wider scale. The past, for this sector, certainly represents an important starting point to be remembered, but also to be improved with respect to the needs of the present, with an eye towards the future. And who knows that soon, thanks also to Torqeedo solutions, we may be able to introduce additional converted boats, increasingly lighter and powered by electricity.