Report Synopsis

Old Men: Older Boats. Electric Drive, Power Storage and Power Generation in Commercial Fishing Vessels

Dennis Holder

The majority of Australia’s fishing fleet is outdated. That is, combustion engines are the typical form of power generation. As power generation technology has superseded traditional diesel engines in the last three decades, there is enormous room and requirement for improvement.

This report examines the prospect of building a modern fishing vessel using the latest technology of propulsion, power storage and power generation.

The author visited six countries on this study topic including The Netherlands, Iceland, Ireland, Florida (USA), Brussels and Norway, which was a major highlight. Here, the author experienced an electric fishing boat for a full day, met with ship designers, factory tank test hulls, and visited battery and fishing manufacturers.

A key outcome from the study is the evident significant barriers associated with regulations reducing uptake of newer technology.

Electric and hybrid power generation systems have been successfully utilised in Scandinavia and other parts of mainland Europe. Electric motors provide more power and vessels can utilise smaller engine units and conserve space for additional cargo, catch or crew.

The added efficiencies associated with electric motors like thermal waste re-use, allow for further reductions in required power on board fishing vessels.

In addition, hull design enhances the efficiency of power conversion of electric motors and battery storage solutions are able to capitalise on commercial fishing conditions.

In summary, with new technology it is possible to reduce fuel costs by up to 80%, reduce maintenance costs by up to 50% and positively address occupational health and safety fatigue management and reduce the overall carbon footprint of the industry.

The now ‘old’ technology in fisheries needs to be supported with legislative framework to adopt today’s available technology. Then, it will become appealing to the younger generations.

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