A green transport revolution for Venice

June 23, 2016, University of Southampton
REAPsystems chief technology officer, Dr Dennis Doerffel, with the engine.

Engineers from the University of Southampton are helping to develop an electric-hybrid engine for Venice water taxis this summer to provide cleaner, greener transport.

Venice, a UNESCO World Heritage city, has approximately 20,000 leisure craft and 550 taxi boats serving some 32m visitors every year. All are currently diesel-powered meaning Venice suffers from high levels of air and noise pollution which affects the water, architecture and health of both residents and tourists alike.

Working with REAPsystems, a UK-based independent specialist in advanced propulsion systems, the Southampton engineers are creating a clean drop-in hybrid diesel electric that can be installed by any boat builder and fitted into all existing boats.

The system uses the latest diesel engine technology paired with a high-power, compact and efficient electric motor and inverter as well as a modern lithium-ion battery and advanced system control unit.

In the city, the engine can be 'clutched out' to allow pure electric drive - no noise, no pollution, no vibrations, no fuel consumption. During medium to high speed, the diesel engine automatically takes over. During diesel operation, the electric motor works as a generator, recharging the batteries and pushing the engine into a more efficient operation. The may also assist in order to reduce exhaust emissions.

Professor Suleiman Sharkh, Head of Mechatronics at the University of Southampton, said: "The benefits are clear: no noise, no pollution, no vibrations when operating in the city. Our demonstration with the water taxi will inform the local authorities, so they can tighten their regulations. Thus, the reduced maintenance cost and the halved fuel consumption will convince operators to switch to these green engines."

The hybrid-drive taxi boat will be tested this summer to coincide with new legislation concerning pollution from waterborne traffic.

A crowdfunding project has been launched to fund the development of the technology: www.indiegogo.com/projects/project-venice

REAPsystems chief technology officer, Dr Dennis Doerffel, said: "Our crowdfunding campaign is a complete reversal of the usual commercial approach. We involve the public on our journey. This way we can kickstart the hybrid revolution together."

Explore further: Hybrid technology moves from road to water

Related Stories

Hybrid technology moves from road to water

March 2, 2012

Hybrid engines aren't just for cars anymore. Hybrid engine systems are slowly catching on with environmentally conscious sailors, replacing less-fuel efficient diesel motors on sailboats.

Electric pilot boat is environmentally friendly and safe

April 28, 2014

One of the world's most advanced pilot boats contains a hybrid drive from Siemens. Called the Explorer, the vessel is a SWASH (Small Waterplane Area Single Hull) vessel with a torpedo-shaped float located centrally underneath ...

Hybrid buses improve air quality in Hanoi

July 25, 2013

Siemens and the Vietnam Motors Industry Corporation (Vinamotor) are launching the first hybrid bus with a combined electric/diesel drive in Hanoi. The project is the first of its kind in Vietnam. The vehicle uses the ELFA ...

Innovative hybrid-electric powertrain for road sweepers

June 5, 2015

Empa, ETH Zürich and the road sweeper manufacturer Bucher Municipal have jointly developed a pioneering hybrid-electric powertrain for road sweepers in a CTI project. The concept is based on a gas-driven engine, which provides ...

Hybrid Bus in the City: A Prototype with a Future

August 20, 2007

Nuremberg’s public transport system has become more "electrified" thanks to a diesel-electric hybrid bus developed by MAN. The vehicle is equipped with drive-system technology from Siemens.

Recommended for you

Uber filed paperwork for IPO: report

December 8, 2018

Ride-share company Uber quietly filed paperwork this week for its initial public offering, the Wall Street Journal reported late Friday.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.