Alternative engines for sustainable shipping on the way – A shipyard in Isleboro, Maine, USA, has recently introduced a 40-horsepower, all-electric engine powered by solar panels. This marks the beginning of a major transformation in propulsion systems that is set to revolutionise the commercial fishing industry in the United States.
The creation of this vessel is the result of a collaboration with the Island Institute, a non-profit organisation that not only developed this solution, but is also actively supporting the electrification of Maine’s marine coastline. Recently, the institute launched an introductory course on electric boats in partnership with the Maine Community College System and the Mid-Coast School of Technology. It also promotes the installation of solar systems on piers and docks.
Electric outboard motors offer a number of advantages, including significantly reduced CO2 emissions, even when powered by non-renewable energy sources, less water pollution, more predictable operating costs, and quiet operation. Kimberly A. Hamilton, President of the Island Institute, emphasised that this technology supports both the environment and business resilience.
Historically, fishermen have faced costly changes in their operations from generation to generation. However, now the community has the opportunity to gradually adopt technologies that not only make the industry more sustainable, but also significantly reduce fuel costs in the long run. Noah Oppenheim, director and founder of Homarus Strategies based in Brunswick, Maine, emphasised that this represents an important step forward.
A broader commitment to move away from diesel would demonstrate the fishing industry’s leadership in sustainability and ocean protection. Although the costs of such a transformation are not insignificant, in the long term it could translate into savings and more efficient operations, contributing positively to profits.
Noah Oppenheim emphasised the importance of providing financial and regulatory support for a smooth and cost-effective transition to more sustainable energy sources. Several organisations are already working on fleet fuel efficiency, emission reduction and ship electrification. Such initiatives could become mandatory for commercial fishing operations in the United States.
Alternative engines for sustainable shipping on the way