What is the fuel consumption of a cruising barge ?
Generally, barges consume little considering their often imposing size. It is important to remember that the level of consumption depends on the engine installed, the hull shape, the weight and size of the boat - and the weight of the hand of the captain ! Consumption varies from one barge to another.
Here is a rough estimate of the consumption of a barge :
- Barges less than 20m consume between 2 and 6 litres per hour.
- Barges 20m to 30m consume between 4 and 8 litres.
- Barges from 30m to 40m consume between 6 and 12 litres.
Most houseboats are equipped with slow revving engines, and thus have a moderate level of consumption at normal cruising speed (9-12kph).
Over the years, the fuel consumption of barges has been reduced through various innovations by engine manufacturers.
In the early 20th century, barges were equipped with very slow revving single or two-cylinder engines with hand or air starting.
Nowadays, these engines have beein replaced with robust and reliable diesel engines, with efficient conventional or electronic injection that provides even more fuel savings.
Hull shapes have also often been improved to enable the barge reach cruising speed with less energy. Is is wise to remember that barges where originally made to be towed by a horse or man at a certain speed. The more speed above this "hull speed" you demand of such a vessel, the more your fuel consumption will increase.
Nowadays some boats are equipped with electric propulsion systems.
These require substantial battery banks and means of recherching them, such as solar panels, generators or a battery charger that is functions when connected to the dock. An electric propulsion system is an effective and silent system for a displacement hull that requires little energy to reach its cruising speed.
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