Foss Maritime Company (Seattle, USA) announced building of the world’s first true hybrid tug, a “green” vessel that will significantly reduce harmful nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, sulphur dioxide and carbon emissions. It will also consume less fuel and be quieter than its conventional predecessors. The hybrid tug will be introduced in the Los Angeles/Long Beach market, as hybrid technology is best suited for harbor tugs that need high amounts of power for short periods of time. The project must still gain final board approval.
The Foss hybrid tug will look almost identical to its sister Dolphin-class tug boats, but will be quieter, cleaner and more fuel efficient, using proven hybrid technology. The tug’s drive units will be powered by batteries coupled with diesel generators and feature a modified engine room accommodating two 670 horsepower battery packs and two 335 horsepower generators. Although the main engines in the hybrid tug will have lower horsepower than the existing Dolphin engines, overall the tug will have the same total horsepower as its sister tugs. The 5,000 horsepower Foss hybrid tug will be primarily used for harbor assist services—moving vessels such as tankers and container ships in and out of the harbor and into their berths.
There are many environmental and health-related benefits to building a hybrid tug, including reduced emissions (estimated 44 percent reduction in PM and NOx emissions), lower fuel consumption, and noise reduction. The hybrid tug design will make it adaptable for retrofit of existing harbor tugs. The flexible design of the tug also has the ability to take advantage of emerging technologies such as improved battery and fuel advances. This tug could also take advantage of cleaner, less expensive shore power to charge the batteries.
The decision to move forward with the hybrid tug got a boost last week as the Port of Los Angeles pledged $850,000 to the project, in association with the South Coast Air Quality Management District, and the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners preliminarily approved a $500,000 contribution to the vessel’s construction. The Foss hybrid tug is scheduled to go into production later this year and will be delivered to Foss’ Southern California operations in 2008. It is a new-build project, a continuation of the Dolphin-class tug boat series built at Foss’ Rainier, Oregon shipyard.