Venice all electric 2030

Venice Bridge

Member Venice Agenda 2028

Member Venice Agenda 2028 is to be credited for having contributed to a major change in policy in the Capital of the Doges. The entire fleet of vaporetti, work boats, ferries, taxis and launches is to be converted to electric power by 2030. In addition to the all-important change from fossilfuels, as promoted by IWI’s Alternative Fuels Working Group, the boats will have completely modernised styling and fittings for the greater comfort of users. 

The operator AVM is launching this year a comprehensive 10-year programme of purchases of new craft and retrofitting of electric motors in existing boats. In line with the ‘decarbonisation’ targets of the EU, Venice should already have genuinely green mobility by 2030. The intermediate phase of dieselpowered electric propulsion will already bring benefits in reduced pollution and noise. 

The overall investment by the City of Venice (Comune) to modernise the fleet is €154 million, to which the Ministry of Infrastructure is making a significant contribution of €131 million, or more than half of the total devoted to this objective of ‘greening’ inland water transport throughout Italy.

Working group’s case histories

The Working Group completed in September 2020 a first portfolio of case histories of transition to clean fuels. The group has met three times, and IWI has now published on its website a summary of the case studies worldwide. 

Its audience is the boating public as well as commercial interests, corporations, and legislative agencies. Its goal is to provide information on the latest technologies and best practices to these audiences so that they can make the best informed decisions about how to reduce carbon emissions from marine propulsion. 

The geographical boundary is limited to inland waters, particularly large to mediumsized navigable rivers, lakes and canals, but no further out than coastal estuaries around the world. The main focus is on smaller vessels, under 40m in length.

Open to all solutions bar fossil fuels

Commercial systems evaluated range from battery electric charged from clean-grid energy or photovoltaic (PV) and sustainably-generated hydrogen to be used with fuel cells (HFC). Research into novel forms of energy storage is welcomed, as long as they do not involve fossil resources. 

Cleaner and faster refueling and recharging systems are also being evaluated. Technical and financial success stories of all vessels using AltFuels will be studied for potential application. Strategies will include industrial and governmental lobbying and publishing, research and practical evaluations.Electric container barge. 

The Working Group recognises that during a transitional period the hybrid use of fossil and partly fossil energy carriers is inevitable, but the ultimate goal is the contribution of boating on inland waterways to a clean and sustainable future by 2030. This goal will affect interests of stakeholders including many IWI members who have invested in conventional technologies. However, assistance is offered to anyone seeking help in making the transition in a way that allows stakeholders to stay in sync with the inevitable conversion to zero emission propulsion technologies while there is still time.

Venice e-regatta fine-tuning 

The Salon Nautico Venezia and the accompanying electric boat regatta (e-regatta), postponed last year because of the pandemic, are scheduled to take place on May 29 to June 5, in the historic Arsenale site of the show (thanks to the Italian Navy).

The Venice Boat Show is presented by the City of Venice in conjunction with Vela, the region’s main public transport provider. Communications are coordinated by Triumph Group International.

Venice Agenda 2028, Venti di Cultura and Assonautica Venezia are together fine-tuning the rules for the various e-Regatta trials, to make them work for the wide variety of boats expected to take part. Boatbuilders from Canada, Norway, England and France have already applied to take part, along with a number of Italian boats. The event will contribute to forging a new identity for Venice as a city with zero-emissions mobility.

Author Kevin Desmond

Above:The E-Ferry 2306 designed by Damen for Copenhagen services has a capacity for 50 passengers and is tailored so that the vessels can auto-dock – bow first – at the existing jetties and fast recharge in only seven minutes.

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