Historic steamship could be set to go green

Due to the loss of international tourism, New Zealand's GDP will be 3% to 5% lower than it would...
The TSS Earnslaw could be set to go green. PHOTO: ODT FILES
The owner of the TSS Earnslaw is considering how to replace the historic steamship’s coal-fired boilers with an environmentally-friendly means of propulsion.

Queenstown company RealNZ has begun a feasibility study into alternatives ways of generating the steam that drives the vessel, which turns 109 today.

Chief executive Stephen England-Hall said the ship's original boilers would soon need replacing.

It would be a "major and invasive piece of work" requiring the vessel to be out of the water for an extended time.

"That would be the obvious time to implement a carbon-neutral or carbon-zero solution," Mr England-Hall said.

"We will essentially look for a new source of heat to generate steam that replaces the coal."

Carbon-neutral options were wood pellets or bio-diesel fuel, while carbon-zero options were renewable hydrogen fuel, battery-electric or fully-electric.

The Earnslaw is the oldest coal-fired passenger-carrying steamship in the southern hemisphere.

It carries passengers across Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown to the Colonel's Homestead and Walter Peak High Country Farm.


If it becomes fully electric, it becomes a commercial gimmick, not a piece of history

Wood pellets.

Biomass seems to be the answer, please don't put environmentally damaging batteries in it.

The Earnslaw goung green? When will this lunacy stop.
Tourists and kiwis go on this beautiful olr girl because it's extremely old and uses the same form of power from a 100 plus years ago.
New Zealands emissions don't even Register on the world wide scale. Just imagine it being electric, the laughing stock of the southern hemisphere.......
what would be the attraction then.......atleast a big deisel generator will be able to charge it l guess.

Convert it to a sailing ship!

But jokes aside, the only attraction that Earnslaw provides is an original, 100 years old propulsion machinery in working order, which is the whole point of preserving this fine vessel.

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter