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Testing the e-boat on Dane River, Source: klaipeda.lt

Klaipėda University engineers build electric boat

Klaipėda University engineers build electric boat

It has been created as part of the ELMAR project supporting SMEs in the South Baltic to tap into the international electric vessel markets

The sight of electric passenger buses made-in-Klaipėda can hardly surprise anyone in the Lithuanian port city, as residents have grown accustomed to their unobtrusive presence in recent years. Well, an electric boat gliding noiselessly over the waters of Danė River is still something new.

Anti-carbon crusader

The still unnamed anti-carbon crusader is an entirely local creation – it has been designed and built by two Klaipėda University (KU) ship engineering masters: Tomas Žapnickas and Evaldas Narušis. Both of them have the expert know-how, as Tomas is the maintenance engineer of KU’s research ship "Mintis", and Evaldas – the ship’s electronics specialist and hydrographer. 

The e-powered boat was built on the premises of the KU Marine Research Institute. "Our goal was to create an electric boat and show that it is possible to spend time on the water, sailing without noise, without the smell and smoke of oil-powered boats, without lubricants and without the risk of polluting the waters," Tomas Žapnickas told the city website.

Upgrading a former lifeboat

The boat was built using the hull of a former lifeboat, which was restored, redesigned and received a new electrical control system. It is 8.5 m long and 2.93 m wide, and is equipped with an electric motor pumping 15 kW continuous power (30 kW short-term), with battery capacity of 60 kWh. The boat can carry 12 passengers at a time, and can sail 92 km on a single charge.

The boat creators have already tested it on the Danė River and say that it is best suited for short voyages, despite its enviable reach, because people would simply lack amenities on a longer trip.

Tomas and Evaldas note that the boat’s outlook will change, as it will be lifted on solid ground for the winter and will receive a new interior.

Part of ELMAR project

The Klaipėda electric boat is among the results of the joint ELMAR project carried out by Klaipėda University and 10 other partners in Poland, Germany and Lithuania. The aim of this project is to help small and medium-sized enterprises in the South Baltic to enter the international electric vessel markets.

“Klaipėda University is part of EU-CONEXUS (European University for Smart Urban Coastal Sustainability) and the search for researchers to create eco-friendly innovations is one of our priorities. Specialists raised by KU have created an electric bus, and now we have an electric boat. I am proud that we are keeping pace with the world and progress,” said the Rector of KU Prof. Dr. Artūras Razbadauskas.

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