Clements, R.J., Wilson, P.A., Lewthwaite, J.C., Molland, A.F. and Ivanov, P.
The potential for the use of a novel craft, PACSCAT (partial air cushion supported catamaran), in inland European waterways.
Proceedings of FAST 2005.
FAST 2005 [Eighth International Conference on Fast Sea Transportation]
The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology.
A new type of high-speed cargo vessel could soon be taking some of the burden from our roads. The Partial Air
Cushioned Supported Catamaran, or PACSCAT, is being developed with the aid of funding from the EU Growth
programme. With rapid growth in freight logistics markets throughout Europe, and an already congested landbased
infrastructure, expansion of waterborne modes is considered essential. It is expected that PACSCAT vessels will play a major role in achieving this goal. The high speed, low wash, variable draught vessel is designed for operations on the Rhine and Danube rivers. At a design speed of around 20kt (37 km/ hr), the vessel will be capable of making the 2,200 km trip from Constanza to Passau in three days as opposed to the current
journey time of seven days by barge, thus competing directly with road transport. The payload capacity will be in the order of 2000 t, which is equivalent to around 45 truckloads. The vessel draught can be adjusted from 2.5m to as low as 1.5m in order to cope with shallow conditions and air draught can be similarly altered to allow for bridge height limitations. The air cushion is contained between the sidehulls and end seals, and is
generated by installed lift fans. This reduces the propulsion power requirements and the wash generated, which
is especially important in operations along waterways. It will be designed to operate utilising existing berthing/loading facilities. This paper reports the results of the current EU funded project which is developing the concept for operations on inland European waterways. However, the concept is equally applicable to short sea operations, possibly with a river transit as part of the route to avoid unnecessary transhipment of cargo
between seagoing and river craft. A number of military applications are also under investigation.
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