Coal-powered steamship TSS Earnslaw appears to be going green
Pat Soper / Stuff
The TSS Earnslaw has been a major asset to Lake Wakatipu for decades, but contributes significantly to carbon emissions.
One of Queenstown’s most recognizable symbols, the coal-fired TSS Earnslaw, could turn green.
Stephen England-Hall, managing director of the operator of Earnslaw RealNZ, said the company is exploring other ways to generate steam to power the 109-year-old steamboat, one of the most popular tourist attractions. famous in the region.
First launched in 1912, the TSS Earnslaw is the oldest coal-fired passenger steamship in the southern hemisphere, he said.
But it is believed to be responsible for one percent of all transportation emissions in the district.
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“As responsible kaitiaki, we must weigh every inch of its heritage value with our ambition to protect and preserve the places where we operate. “
The ship’s original boilers will soon be over 110 years old and will need to be replaced as part of a major project.
Queenstown’s tourist attraction, TSS Earnslaw, opened in 1912, burns one ton of coal per hour.
“This would be the obvious time to implement a carbon neutral or zero carbon solution.
“We’re basically going to look for a new heat source to generate steam that replaces coal. The aim is to keep the engine room fully operational and intact, ”said England-Hall.
The company has already set up a TSS decarbonization team and researched both the heat and marine industries to find alternative ways of fueling the steamship.
Carbon-neutral options under consideration include the use of wood pellets and biodiesel fuel, while zero-carbon options include renewable hydrogen, battery power, and the fully electric switchover.
A report on the Otago Regional Council’s greenhouse gas profile estimated in a report released earlier this year that the steamboat generates one percent of total transportation emissions for the Queenstown Lakes District.
The owners confirmed they were looking for a new fuel source after the news that the New Vale Ohai coal mine was shutting down in September.
The Earnslaw uses one ton of coal from Southland’s Ohai Coal Mine every time it sails from Queenstown to Walter Peak Station and back.