The world's first electric freefall lifeboat passed its final drop tests and is one step closer to floating at sea, according to project partner Torqeedo.
Torqeedo, the leading manufacturer of electric and hybrid drives, provided the integrated propulsion system for the emission-free vessel while pioneering lifeboat company Verhoef is undertaking the building process.
Project engineers developed and tested the propulsion system that uses a 50-kilowatt electric motor with 80 horsepower to provide power for 30 minutes at full speed followed by 10 hours at 50% speed.
Drop tests revealed the boat, equipped with a water spray pump to safely steer through burning oil on the water’s surface, is ready to withstand the heavy forces of a drop to sea from a high platform.
The lifeboat, with a 32 passenger holding capacity, will be deployed on an offshore oil platform, operated by Aker BP, in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea.
The electric powered lifeboat will reduce the high maintenance costs of diesel engines currently in use and eliminate the need to transport, store and handle diesel fuel on oil platforms, while reducing operating costs by about 90 to 95% compared to combustion-powered lifeboats, Verhoef revealed.
"While we are focusing initially on applications like oil platforms, which have shorter distances to travel to reach shore, we believe this technology will also ultimately transform the shipping and cruise industry as well," said Martin Verhoef, CEO of Verhoef.
The contract with Aker BP includes an option for similar lifeboats in the future, Torqeedo announced earlier in the week.
By Zeynep Beyza Kilic