Bodewes Binnenvaart BV, Damen Shipyards Group’s inland waterway shipyard, and inland shipping company QaGroup are set to launch an entirely new inland shipping concept. The Damen EcoLiner will run on LNG and is intended to provide an integrated shipping concept for the inland shipping industry in Europe.

Permission to use LNG as the fuel for the new design was granted by the Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, meaning that the vessel can travel on all the international inland waterways. The LNG concept operates alongside another innovation developed by Bodewes Binnenvaart, the air-lubricated hull ‘ACES’. These innovations lead to considerable fuel savings and cuts in emissions.

Although the LNG/ACES system can be fitted to any inland ship, at the moment the system has been designed around a 110 m vessel, the EcoLiner, which is based on the well-known Damen River Liner 1145. The new vessel has a bunker capacity of approximately 45m3 LNG and is equipped with four generator sets. These power all the on-board facilities via a power management system, which ensures efficient energy generation and storage. For example, more power is needed going upriver from Rotterdam to Basle than on the return, so the management system will automatically switch the generator sets on and off. Extensive trials have proven that fuel savings of around 25 per cent can be realised on the EcoLiner.

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