Working for emission-free canal cruisers

As the city’s most popular tourist attraction, boats are a big business in Amsterdam. Over 320 boats take four million passengers through the city’s iconic canals each year. Change is afoot though, and the local government set the ambitious goal of banning diesel engines from the city’s waterways by 2025 as part of the effort to combat climate change. 

The transition of commercial vessels is already moving ahead, with 75% of the 550 navigating the canals now qualifying as emissions-free, according to a recent report

And now for the other 10,000 boats

Experts attribute this quicker than expected move to emission-free transport to cheaper solar energy and new forms of storage.

Meanwhile, when it comes to Amsterdam’s other 12,000 recreational boats, only an estimated 5% are emissions-free. Converting these to electric would cost €4,000 to €40,000 apiece depending on size – though it’s expected that many will be sold or recycled.

To help push along the move to electricity among smaller boat owners, the city is working with contractors to install 100 boat charging stations by the end of 2021. 

Floating battery terminals: a tech trend to watch

In addition, a new floating battery terminal for electric boats has just launched at the Port of Amsterdam

An initiative of the Netherlands-based startup Skoon Energy, the cargo-container-sized battery is powered by local renewable energy sources. It will serve electric boat owners and river cruise vessels, and will move around the city’s canals to be used by construction projects, film sets and events that would otherwise rely on diesel generators.

The company also recently released its Skoon Cloud service, which allows users to rent out batteries they are not using – following a similar business model as Uber – for use at building sites, festivals and other gatherings. The effort has earned the company recognition as one of the ‘Tech Trends to Watch’ and a place on the list of ‘Quote 25 Most Promising Startups’.

Read more business news from around Amsterdam.