Goodchild hybrid boat to lower PLA emissions

'Leader' 'Leader' is emission-free while operating in electric mode. Credit: Rebecca Jeffrey

A Goodchild Marine parallel hybrid pilot boat built for the Port of London Authority (PLA) has been officially handed over at Seawork 2019 to help reduce the PLA’s operational emissions.

The ORC 136, named Leader, combines both diesel and electric power and has been designed to be completely emission free while operating in electric mode. Leader will replace a diesel vessel that is nearing the end of its working life.

Bob Baker, chief harbourmaster at PLA, said: We see it as important that our boats are the most environmentally friendly, with the lowest emissions possible. 90% of the time we will be using the vessel in electric mode.”

Leader is expected to reach up to 15 knots under hybrid power and will be used by the PLA for the transfer of pilots to and from vessels in Gravesend.

Hybrid challenge

Alan Goodchild, managing director at Goodchild Marine, said: “The main challenge for us was to incorporate hybrid propulsion into a boat that’s designed to go fairly fast, without compromising its safety and performance. Hybrid by nature adds quite a lot of weight because of the battery element.”

He added that as well as well as the emissions-reducing hybrid propulsion, “the ORC design is 40% more fuel efficient than its conventional counterparts, so even in diesel mode there are significant fuel savings”.

Construction began in June 2018 and incorporated the beak bow hull design which Goodchild Marine’s flagship ORC range is known for. This design makes it lighter and more capable of higher speeds.

Marine and Industrial Transmissions Limited (MIT) and its manufacturing and technology partners Transfluid have partnered the project by providing the plug-in hybrid system, alongside E P Barrus, suppliers of the Yanmar engines.

The order was placed as part of PLA’s commitment to promoting the adoption of new, green technology in its recently published Air Quality Strategy for the Tidal Thames.

PLA was the first UK port authority to launch an Air Quality Strategy, which all UK port authorities have been directed to do by the government.

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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