The Third Salone Nautice held in Venice this June 2022, has enabled « Electrify Venice » to check out progress on the electrification of its fleet. Progress with the two main waterbus fleets is slow, steady and hybrid . Alongside the twelve Alilaguna yellow and white hybrids, concerning ACTV's key tender received by two potential shipbuilders for two new 31m 400 PAX hybrid-electric vaporetti, news on the shipyard chosen will at last arrive by July. News about the additional tender for a sizeable fleet of 24m hybrid-electric vaporetti should be received by the end of the year. This means a cleaner more silent fleet of vaporetti from the end of 2023. While Veritas are testing six green and white workboats before transitioning the remaining 70-strong fleet, the Police’s satisfaction with their first two boats has led to a further twelve currently under construction. Only three airport taxis are hybrid, while the remainder of this sizeable fleet still wait for a nine-hour 50kmh performance offer to equal their existing diesel unit. This is the same for the water-truck companies such as Bossa A Boat . E-Dock’s linking to Aqua SuperPoser promises an increase in discreet rapid recharge points around the canals in the coming years. During the parade of the 28 e-boats, part of the 41 on show, while cruising through the Grand Canal, the Swedish E-Shore boat patriotically broadcast music by Abba !, while once out in the bay, several boats accelerated through the waves, unofficially launching the sport of e-offshore, not to be confused with the rather unstable demonstration of the E1 prototype. The cherry on the cake, the E-Regatta,in only its second year, saw nine boats, with both female and male crews steering through the buoys in 34 seconds, while their e-ballerina proved far more choreographic and fun. The winner of the E-Regatta, for the second year in a row, was e'dyn team. On the lower steps of the podium, in second and third place, Toffolo/Torqueedo and Vita Yacht teams.
The four yellow Huracan outboard skiffs racing around the seaplane based took the century-old-sport of outboard circuit racing into the future, with a local teenage girl, Michela Tozzo the winner. This GT-Electra fleet, personally and courageously sponsored by Italian powerboat champion Giampaolo Montavoci of the Italian Powerboat Federation, has already been invited to race in Serbia. During the Conference, the Venice Region in the north of Italy and Puglia in the southern heel announced a collaboration in the hydrogenisation and electrification of their ports, based on the Amsterdam and Oslo models. AssonauticaVenezia, dynamically led by Marino Masiero has challenged the City to collaborate in the setting up of a working goup to lay out the administive principles for e-boat acceptance, including hydrogen. For VeniceAgenda2028, six years are left to make the conversion of all motorised vessels in the Serenissima, recently declared by her Mayor Luigi Brugnaro as The World Centre of Sustainability. Time will tell.
Having assembled important funding (regional, national and european) Venice is indeed en route to electrify its motorised fleet. Its transport company, ACTV has now commissioned the La Spezia shipyard, SIMAN (Società Industriale Meccanica ed Affini Navale) to build a new fleet of 12 hybrid-electric vaporetti buses, while existing vaporetti will also be retro-fitted at Alberto Toffolo’s shipyard in Giudecca using Vulkan diesel-electric motors. In addition, a diesel-electric bi-directional ferry with azimuth thrusters is out for tender. The existing ferryboats Pellestrina rated load per vehicle 35 tons and the Marco Polo (rated load per vehicle 55 tons) will also be retro-fitted.
In San Giovanni in Marignano, Rimini, a city south of Venice on the Adriatic coast, Engineer Massimo Semprini and a team at dredging boat manufacturer Italdraghe, have collaborated with Torqeedo-Deutz in Germany to produce an outboard, retractable electric propulsion system for commercial and working vessels in inland and urban waterways such as Venice. The system combines Italdraghe’s proven and extensively field-tested steerable azimuth thrusters and Torqeedo’s 50 kW Deep Blue high-voltage lithium-based electric power system.
VERITAS, the municipal garbage collection company, have been testing their 12m MB 315 Hybrid, built by Advanced Marine Composites. It is powered by batteries (and by a biodiesel generator for longer journeys) which, instead of using oil, is powered by the electrolysis of sea water. Since July last year, MB 315 has been serving as a MiniCentre for the selective collecting of hazardous municipal waste : cooking oil, empty paint cans, exhausted batteries, small appliances, light bulbs and LEDs . Another prototype, the Giorgione Full Electric System, has been thoroughly trialled. While an additional 5 are under construction and should be available by this summer, if the results prove good, VERITAS’s entire 80-boat fleet will be converted.
This fleet will be among those who use a growing network of charging stations developed by Venice-based e-concept whose smart solution is to hide their E-Docks inside mooring poles. E-Docks are to be set up in Venice’s historic centre, in both Campo Santi Apostoli and in Calle del Ridotto in front of Cà Giustinian. E-concept has now partnered with the UK Aqua Super power for their fast recharging units, the latter in collaboration with Tritium, a global leader in DC fast-charging hardware. They plan to sell at least 200 units , both in HPC (up to 150 KW) and in quick-charge (up to 22 KW) in 2022. In August 2021, e-concept, already in partnerships with Enel X and Cofidindustria Venezia carried out a capital increase of € 38,000 thanks to the entry of 5 new investors. The collaboration with the Municipality of Venice continues in the perspective described by the ICC - Intelligent City Challenge - project of proceeding with the creation of the public and private network for electric recharging of pleasure boats, work boats and for passenger transport.
At the same time, ACTV is working with the State Administration to enable hydrogen-fuelled vessels to be permitted to voyage in Italian waters. These would use green hydrogen manufactured from algae at a new factory in Marghera.
Alilaguna, the private company for passenger transport, was among the first, together with the Vizianello shipyard, to study the application of hybrid systems to their units, parallel systems, in line, in series and even Hepic a hydrogen version using Fuel Cell, a version still awaiting approval. Vizianello has also combined with Simrad Yachting, a leading brand in nautical electronics to retrofit the Amore, the most famous of the Vizianello water limousines. Amore essentially comprises a diesel engine that can run independently or in combination with a 30kW electric motor and a 23kW battery pack. In fully electric mode, the boat has an autonomy of about one hour at 6-7 knots which allows navigation with zero emissions and no noise, ideal for short trips through the Serenissima’s canals.
Apart from Amore, and one-offs developed by the Italian Transfluid which, together with Atella's CMD with its Blue Hybrid System, motorized taxi-type units and operation vessels of the Guardia di Finanza and the naval section of the Carabinieri, one observes reluctance on the part of operators, waiting in turn for the economic and operational concessions promised by the administration. So much so that Mayor Brugnaro who atht Dubai World Fair proposed his city as the World Centre of Sustainability, has been accused of « green washing »
Two companies, on the other hand, are already operating for rental in the lagoon from Classic Boat Venice, on the island of Certosa, which supplies traditional boats such as topette and sampierotte equipped with electric outboards from Torqeedo, to the AQA, in Giudecca at Toffolo Officine, which uses electric hulls of Danish Rand Boats and Slovenian Alfastreet Marine.
At least for small-medium kW power, one has observed a range of inboards and outboards being tested up and down the canals : the German Torqeedo, the Austrian AquaWatt and Aquamot, the Chinese e-propulsion and Parsun, the Japanese Yamaha, the Slovenian Remigo and e-'dyn, the American Flux and Elco, the Korean Electrin, in the Netherlands Spingi and Rime Drive, the Croatian Tema, the Finnish Oceanvolt, not forgetting the Italian Huracan, Transfluid and Mitek.
Last but not least, Il Commandante Pietro Tosi, legendary Venetian campaigner and pioneer of sustainable boats, is already known for his "Cargo 31",and Studio 43, designed specifically for the transport of works of art as it is air-conditioned, also equipped with photovoltaic and electrical panels. Tosi’s latest creation is a rowing/sailing/electric Topetta which he has called « La Veneziana ». Measuring 7.2 metres long and 1.8 metres wide, it has been built in fiberglass with mahogany cladding and deckwork, with sails by Venetian sailmaster Paolo Rusca. Its 70hp Fimea motor is at the centre of the keel with 10 kWh photovoltaic battery.
As a tribute to those who perished from COVID, during the pandemic, artist Livio De Marchi, known as the "Carpenter of Venice”, working with the Consorzio Venezia Sviluppo at the Cantieri Lucchese della Giudecca, has created a giant violin boat, made of oak, mahogany, fir, larch, lime and cherry wood. Last September, the 12m50 Il Violino di Noè (= Noah’s violin) equipped with an electric outboard provided by the local Toffolo boatyard, silently paraded along the Grand Canal. On board, a string quartet played music by local 17th Century composer Vivaldi.
Possible new COVID varants permitting, examples of the above-mentioned electric boats will be seen at the E-Village of the 3rd Salone Nautico this coming June. Last year, some 25 electric boats paraded through the Grand Canal and in front of the Piazza San Marco. Undoubtedly that fleet will be bigger this year. The second running of the E-Regatta will also be held in the Idroscalo and the Arsenale, with the launching of a new circuit monotype, the Yellow Arrow.
Author : Kevin Desmond founded the ngo VeniceAgenda2028.com in 2018.
Electric boats made their mark at the Salone Nautico Venezia, held in the first week of June. With an E-Village with 30 exhibitors, the E-Regatta was also a success.
Despite the floods from the AquaAlta and then the total evacuation of tourists and boats from Venice, when the Venetians told the world about rediscovered silence, pure air, shoals of fish and jellyfish in the canals, VeniceAgenda2028 has been busy working from home and in boatyards to make the e-regata even more spectacular next summer of 2021. Using Zoom conferencing and emails we have been further refining the Rules of the e-regata to make it more interactive and ludic. These rules can now be downloaded below. Electric boatbuilders from the Veneto region and the North Italian Lake District are planning the Prologo, a prototype e-regata to test out these rules and to improve them further. Two days ago, a new electric open boat, based on the traditional Venetian topetta, was launched from Murano and is considered as just the beginning of Venezia's decision to make a sustainable comeback (find the post in Electrify Venice Facebook page). Plans are also underway to hold an e-regata world championship, with candidate venues already received from Toronto (Canada), Helsinki (Finland), Bristol (UK), Strathclyde (Scotland), Paris (France) and of course Venice. We welcome both other venue proposals and overall sponsors, with the plan to created the marine equivalent of Formula-E automobiles. Concerning other types of electric boat for Venice, we know of several projects for both passenger boats and workboats and will keep you posted about these in the months to come
In order to promote the developoment of zero-emission, low wash/wake, manoeuvrable and reasonably autonomous electric boats, we have decided to publish the description of the e-Regata as open-source, available to anybody in the world wishing to organise such a competition. Depending on the waterway you use, you may need to modify small details.
These Race Instructions (RI) have been developed by Kevin Desmond (watersport historian and founder of VeniceAgenda2028, Hartmut Ginnow-Merkert (European Championship for Solar Boats), and Jeroen Droogsma (Solar Sport One) and Roy Cooper: In case of a discrepancy between the Italian, German, and English text versions, the English text shall prevail.
Any situation not covered by these rules will be decided on by the Jury. Each team shall participate in compliance with recognised principles of sportsmanship and fair play. The responsibility for a competitor’s decision to participate in the race is for his alone.
Note from Kevin Desmond, chairman of the Electric Boat Association and co-founder of VeniceAgenda2028
Andreas Apostolopoulos, Founder and Chairman of the Greek Electric Boat Association and organiser of the “Go to Port” e-boat competition for schools around the Aegean and Ionian Islands, has proposed the following simple, but practical and noble idea:
I have an idea, which I believe is very significant for the promotion of Electric Boats worldwide. Everybody knows two things: that a boat must have a paddle on board if ever gets out of power and secondly that our world is suffering from the plastics pollution. Around the oceans and lakes of the world are seas of plastic which are destroying aquatic life. My idea is for a paddle that every boat must have on board, with a small spoon-net at the other end: In other words, a paddle-for- plastic-net. With this 2in1 tool, the owner can use the paddle end for navigation and the net end to plastic garbage from the sea whenever they find it, so helping to reduce the pollution. It must be made entirely of biodegrable material, wood or circular-recycled plastic, with the netting in hemp or coconut coir. The net section can be detachable, to better facilitate paddling.
I suggest also that every leisure port should have at its entrance or in a place very easy to reach from both water and walking, a big closed bin (which opens easily for people coming with a boat and from water) where the recollected plastic garbage can be thrown. The design and/or colour of these onshore plastic recollecting bins should be internationally the same, so that any boat having plastic garbage, can recognise them easily
With my country’s legendary tradition as a seafaring nation, I choose to call this device a “kaπa-sigma ®”. The initial letters “kaπa-sigma ®” are from the Greek phrase “Κουπί Σωτηρίας®” (koupi sotirias) which in English means , “Paddle of Salvation” (of Salvage), and it responds to reality . A paddle can help you at difficult times at sea, but also it can save the environment if it can collects garbage. I propose that a “kaπa-sigma ®” becomes a regulatory tool for every electric boat worldwide, if we want to say that we are not merely zero emission and silent, but that we are caring about the environment.
Andreas Apostolopoulos, Ilion, Greece.
Electric boats were one of the key features at the Salone Nautica di Venezia, held at the Arsenale from 18 th to 23 rd June. The two waterbus companies, Alilaguna and ACTV each displayed a hybrid-electric prototype able to handle the relentless 24/24 hr tourist demand. The latter has decided to build an initial batch of 35 of these during the next two years to replace their noisy-smoky-diesel versions. Alongside Vizianello’s HEPIC fuel-cell waterbus and their Nuvolari-designed “retro-look” hybrid-electric water taxi, were three electric workboats also built locally by Veritas, Amadi and VeniceGoGreen’s Cargo31 for the City’s Chamber of Commerce. Also present were e-boats from Transfluid, solar-assist Nauma-Tec, X-Shore (Sweden) and Q-Yachts (Finland). The Italian Powerboat Racing Federation showed an uncompleted prototype of a Formula-E circuit raceboat. In this way, 27,000 Venetian and Italian visitors discovered the “electric boat”. Officially opening the event, both Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati, President of the Italian Senate, then Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro spoke about a green sustainability for future generations and declared that in the future the only type of boat in Venice would be electric. Brugnaro also bought Ca’Farseti, the Transfluid hybrid electric wooden cabin runabout for the Municipality, stating “Soon there will be real possibilities to convert the boats and then we will think about the regulations with the various categories: to pass at certain times and in certain places you must have the electric.”
Talking of the ACTV and Alilaguna hybrid waterbuses, he added “One of these days we have a race: we have two solutions, we can say that surely all the boats will become hybrids and in our Grand Canal they will go electric.” Kevin handed out as many EBA Grebe logo visiting cards as he could. The cherry on the cake! Also during the event, VeniceAgenda2028 in association with Inland Waterways International and Assonautica Venezia developed their plan and signed an agreement for a “Zero Emission Lakeside Festival” in June 2020. This will include the four-discipline E-Regatta (a Venetian word) and “Noi Siamo Electriche!”, a much-to-be publicized electric boat procession along the city’s Grand Canal. The racing structure and official presentation of this will take place in October 2019. Other interested parties expressed an interest in holding e-Regattas on Lake Annecy (Fr), Lake Como, Lake Bracciano and Brindisi (Italy) and Lake Beloton (Hungary) and even in North America – an embryonic championship for a new sport. Watch this space!
VeniceAgenda2028 announced that the Foundation of His Serene Highness, Prince Albert II of Monaco had decided to accompany them in this voyage. A decision was also made by Vela representing the City of Venice to hold two Electric Water Taxi E-Regattas, including a six hour endurance trial, one on Lake Como and the other in the Arsenale during the 2020 Boat Show. Electric runabout manufacturers around the world will be sent Venice Boat Show 2019 Report