Battery--powered river and Bay-crossing vessels

Dhaka,  Tue,  22 August 2017
Published : 14 Jul 2017, 19:44:54

Battery--powered river and Bay-crossing vessels

AN important and interesting item by AFP from Oslo, Norway about ferrying of passengers and cargo across the North sea was carried by your daily on May 11. Unfortunately and very sadly there was no reaction on this critical fuel-saving vessel either from IWTA authorities or the Ministry responsible for inland water transport. Adoption of this simple, cost-effective and environmentally safe idea in Bangladesh could well usher in a new era for providing pollution and smoke-free motive power for small coastal self-propelled marine vessels, and possibly for all our river crossing ferries that haul cars, buses and trucks across many rivers in Bangladesh which have no bridges but roads on both banks of the river. 

Imagine having a battery operated, smoke and pollution-free self-propelled river crossing vessel for ferrying our buses, trucks and private cars. Isn't it wonderful! Today, all our river crossing barges and ferries are usually propelled by diesel engines all across Bangladesh. If these vessels were powered by batteries charged at night when demand for electricity is at its lowest, with many generators of both public and private power plants running well below their minimum load and thus having higher specific fuel consumption because of lesser loads. This could well be a nationally cost-effective solution and cut down our overall consumption of imported fuel to run the barges or river plying cargo boats. The charging of batteries could be fuel saving and lead to reducing overall operating costs, cutting down all consumption of imported diesel fuel, engine oil and lubricants for the large diesel engines (the prime movers) that we now use across the country for the ferries and coastal small vessels.

Additionally, by increasing the minimum power plant load, say from 10pm to 6am (for battery charging) it will provide much needed load for some of our power generating plants that usually run during these hours (11pm to 5am) on minimum and uneconomical load and thus consume more fuel during these low load periods.

Norway has set the idea to a reality and based on its experiments with battery operated shallow draft coasters on their shores, and many car ferries across their fjords across the coastal areas of Norway. We could easily adopt this idea for water transport vessels in service at our coastal areas and the many ferries being used for crossing many rivers all across Bangladesh.

The authorities of IWTA and R&H, who are entrusted with the responsibility of managing coastal trade and river crossings should go ahead to implement this proposal on a top priority basis at the earliest. This will help contain our increasing dependence on imported liquid fuel for these works now. I shall implore upon the Honourable Prime Minister to ensure that the matter is implemented at the earliest in the national interest and more so as no high technology is involved in this case and our ship and dockyards can easily do this modification work. It will help curtail import of diesel fuel nationally by eliminating the need for diesel engines for coastal vessels and river crossing ferries and powered barges all across Bangladesh.


Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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