Dutch dolphin-tail barge set to revolutionise inland shipping

European inland shipping is about to get a significant efficiency boost thanks to a new Dutch propulsion method called the 'O-foil' that promises fuel savings of at least 50 percent in combination with a diesel-electro motor.

75% fewer emissions

The first vessel with this 'dolphin-tail propulsion', De Triade, is currently undergoing trials in the Netherlands. For centuries, the traditional ship's-propeller has been the propulsion method for inland shipping. However, due to limited water depth on many inland routes, screw-propellers are limited in diameter, providing less thrust and making the vessels energy-inefficient.

The new dolphin-tail O-foil moves up and down in a vertical plane providing efficient forward-thrust. The tail can be the same width as the vessel itself, producing a large, low stress surface area for generating forward-thrust. Increased efficiency also means up to 75 percent fewer emissions of pollutants such as NOX, CO, and CO2. The sterns of current barges are designed to channel water to the screw-propellers, however, for the O-foil a flat bottom is more efficient. Current vessels can be adapted relatively easily and the fuel saved with the O-foil means that the investment s rapidly recouped. The construction is also much quieter and less subject to vibration and could lead to a rethink of current barge design.

Source: De Telegraaf