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Company News, 2000-03-20, 01:00 AM

Steel segment: NIROSTA® for solar-powered tourist boats

Alster-Touristik-GmbH (ATG), Hamburg, will be taking a solar-powered pleasure boat into service on the Alster river in May this year. A similar boat, the Helio, has been in operation as a tourist ferry on Lake Constance since September 1999. The new Alster boat and the Lake Constance ferry are not just environmentally friendly but also extremely elegant, being constructed from bow to stern almost exclusively in stainless steel. The twin hulls and other components of the two catamarans are made of NIROSTA® 4571 from Krupp Thyssen Nirosta GmbH.

The vessel for ATG is currently being built by solar boat specialist Kopf AG in Sulz-Bergfelden near Stuttgart, the company that also built the Helio. Both boats were named internally after the Egyptian sun god Ra. The newbuilding for ATG bears the name Ra 82, while the Helio was known at Kopf AG as Ra 66. The Ra 82 will be 25 meters long, five meters wide and have space for 100 passengers. Most of the power for the two electric motors will come from solar cells on the roof of the boat and from a tank station on land that will also produce electricity from solar energy. As with the Helio, the NIROSTA® 4571 parts for the hulls are being supplied by Althammer GmbH & Co. KG in Heidenheim.

Design considerations and reduced maintenance requirements were the main reasons for using stainless steel for Germany's first two solar-powered tourist boats. Unlike normal mild steel, stainless does not require a protective coating that needs regular renewal. Its silvery sheen also underlines the futuristic design of the ships. In addition, stainless has weight advantages over mild steel, a particular asset in lightweight solar boats. The Ra 82, for example, is designed to be only half as heavy as a conventional 100-passenger Alster steamer.

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