Study into replacing coal boilers

As part of a refurbishment the owner of TSS Earnslaw is investigating ways to make the historic...
As part of a refurbishment the owner of TSS Earnslaw is investigating ways to make the historic steamship, now powered by coal, more environmentally friendly. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Queenstown's historic steamship TSS Earnslaw could soon be going green.

The owner of the tourist excursion vessel has begun a feasibility study into replacing its coal-fired boilers with an environmentally friendly means of propulsion.

RealNZ chief executive Stephen England-Hall said the ship’s original boilers would soon need replacing, which 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 technology required was continually advancing, and preserving the ship’s authenticity made it a complex project.

However, the aim was to keep the engine room fully operational and intact.

The company wanted to operate the vessel sustainably for the next 100 years, and had a responsibility to "weigh up every inch of her heritage value with our ambition to protect and preserve the places where we operate".

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

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

To celebrate its 109th anniversary yesterday, it went for a special two-hour evening cruise down the north arm of the lake towards Glenorchy to a viewing point of Mt Earnslaw.


People get on the Earnslaw to see and feel the past, that includes the smell of the steam and coal smoke, utter PC and woke stupidity.

Being Politically Correct is a great thing, it means not being racist, sexist, homophobic, or ageist.
Being Woke is a good thing. It means being intelligent, aware, and having a sense of justice.
Being environmentally aware is also a good thing, the burning of fossil fuels is killing life on Earth, so why would any decent person want to prolong the burning of fossil fuels?
Boldor, you are on the wrong side of history, your ideas were outdated last century and have no place in this century. You are wrong about everything, and there is no acceptable excuse for it.

And Aye ! Burning coal?! On a pristine vista !? Probably way past time for that kind of Dinosaur "thinking" : ) I'd say that by far the majority of visitors would get the Sustainable Earth message.

Other steamboats have made the transition eg The Gondola on Coniston Water, they use biomass. Shouldn't be too difficult to change.

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