High-Speed Catamaran Could Ease Road Congestion
A new high-speed cargo catamaran could significantly reduce the number of lorry journeys on European roads thanks to a grant of almost one million euros from the EU’s Framework Programme.
PACSCAT (Partial Air Cushion Supported Catamaran) is a 30 month project to evaluate the possibility of using high-speed river transport to help deal with the rapid growth in freight movement throughout Europe. The capacity of each catamaran will be around 2,000 tonnes - the equivalent of 45 truck loads – and it will be able to travel at almost 25 miles (37km) an hour, making it a much more realistic alternative to road transport than anything else currently available.
“With an already congested land-based transport infrastructure throughout most European countries the expansion of waterborne transport is essential”, says project co-ordinator Jonathan Williams. “The objective of PACSCAT is to develop and evaluate the catamaran to allow operation on inland waterways without the draught restrictions of conventional vessels. The vessel draught can be adjusted from 2.5 metres to as low as 1.5 metres to cope with shallow water and air draught can be similarly altered to overcome bridge height limitations.
“Although the initial development will focus on transport along two of the major European rivers, the Rhine and Danube, we are hopeful that the catamaran can be adapted to make it a viable option on many other waterways.
The air cushion on the catamaran is contained between the sidehulls and end seals, and is generated by installed lift fans. The vessel will be designed to operate using existing berthing and loading facilities on the Rhine and Danube.
“Developing sustainable transport infrastructure is a key element of the Framework Funding programme”, says Cliff Funnell, FP6UK National Contact Point for Surface Transport (Maritime). “If we can move a significant amount of freight transport from the roads on to our waterways we will see a reduction in both congestion and pollution. Rivers and canals used to carry a great deal of our freight but the lack of speed made it less and less viable. Now we have the chance to make it work again and this has got to be to our long-term benefit.”
“The current Framework Programme (FP6) runs until 2006 and organisations wanting free, easy to access, information on the €19bn of funding available to support internationally collaborative R&D should log on to http://fp6uk.ost.gov.uk or call central telephone support on 0870 600 6080.”
Led by the University of Southampton with management assistance from Marinetech South Ltd, the PACSCAT project is being carried out by a European consortium of 14 partners. They span the complete value chain from vessel design to operation, including interface with key regulatory authorities. The PACSCAT concept was developed by UK naval architects IMAA Ltd, who are the technical coordinators of the current project.
Dave Sanders | alfa
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...