BEHALA and Partners Celebrate Keel Laying of the World’s First Hydrogen Fuel Cell Pushboat ELEKTRA

By March 6, 2020 4   min read  (558 words)

March 6, 2020 |

Elektra 1

BEHALA – Berliner Hafen-und Lagerhausgesellschaft mbH and partner celebrates the Keel laying of the world’s first emission-free push-boat called ELEKTRA

In a ceremony that is not always carried out for inland navigation vessels, the Shipyard Hermann Barthel GmbH in Derben (Saxony-Anhalt) the first component of the ELEKTRA was solemnly keeled.

“In its role model function as the world’s first emission-free push-boat, ELEKTRA has a small solemnity that it definitely deserves, “Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerd Holbach – Head of the ELEKTRA project and the design and operation department Maritime systems at the TU Berlin, said at the keel-laying ceremony.

Elektra Keel Ceremony 1

For the first time, the energy supply on the canal push boat is only Hydrogen and PEM fuel cells. The foundation stone for the Construction of the ELEKTRA is completed today, and completion by the shipyard is scheduled for in the 4th quarter of 2020. Then a detailed test of the energy system and the ship will be performed in the Berlin area and on the Berlin – Hamburg route. The ELEKTRA is primarily intended to transport goods on the Berlin – Hamburg route and in inner-city traffic in Berlin.

Under the project management of the Department of Design and Operation of Maritime Systems (Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerd Holbach) of the TU Berlin are the companies BEHALA (port and Logistics service provider), Hermann Barthel shipyard, BALLARD Power Systems (Fuel cells), ANLEG (hydrogen tank system), marine electronics Rostock, EST- Floattech (accumulators) and Imperial logistics (shipping company) in development and construction of ELEKTRA.

The ELEKTRA project is dedicated to realizing an alternative, local, zero-emission energy supply system for ships that operate on inland waterways


“We at the Barthel shipyard are very pleased that today this innovative, keel laying Ship ELEKTRA takes place at our shipyard, ”explained Dr. Corinna Barthel of the Barthel shipyard.

Elektra 2“An emission-free push-boat that does regular transport work like in the Conducting commercial shipping, is a big step forward for environmentally friendly Transports in Germany. Although the ship will receive and will bear build number 210 this is only the fifth official keel-laying at our shipyard today. From this, you can already see that ELEKTRA is something special for us. ”

“For us as future owners of ELEKTRA, it was clear from the start that this was innovative Push boat must meet the same operational requirements as a conventional ship and that in perspective the operating costs are of a comparable order of magnitude have to be like a conventional ship, ”explained Dipl.-Ing Klaus-Günter Lichtfuß in his speech on keel laying.

Fuel cell technology is being leveraged for hydrogen-fed baseload energy supply for the powertrain and onboard grid. Accumulators are harnessed for peak loads. ELEKTRA is not only investigating hydrogen’s feasibility as an energy store given its specific properties but also exploring ways of creating an infrastructure for charging accumulators with onshore electricity as well as supplying fuel cells with hydrogen.

Furthermore, the project is developing an extensive energy management system for all producers and consumers to ensure the limited energy available onboard is harnessed optimally. This will foster economic efficiency while also securing a competitive edge over conventionally-powered ships.


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