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The University of Southampton
Clean Carbon

The Venice water taxi project

Cleaner greener transport

Researchers at the University are working to reduce air pollution in one of the world's most beautiful cities. Along with industrial partners, REAPsystems Ltd they are designing a 'drop-in' Hybrid-drive system for Venetian water taxis.

Venice, a unique and irreplaceable UNESCO World Heritage City has approximately 20,000 leisure craft and 550 taxi boats to serve its tourist industry of 32 million visitors a year. All are currently diesel-driven, meaning Venice suffers from alarming levels of air and noise pollution, as well as the vibration effect of these engines, all of which dramatically affect the canal water, priceless city architecture and human health.

The Hybrid-drive system is easy to install in Venice's existing water taxis, meaning that the current fleet can be quickly converted to provide cleaner, greener transport. There are considerable benefits. The city, its residents and visitors will get reduced air, water and noise pollution. The taxi operators will get lower fuel consumption and operating costs. Not only will this reduce their overall cost of ownership, it will also give their boats greater reliability and longer life without sacrificing performance.

It is a parallel system, using a Hyundai diesel engine paired with an electric motor, lithium battery array and control unit. The engine is limited in power output by current Venice regulations although the concept is capable of being applied to other makes of engine. The system's diesel and electric units are connected to a MerCruiser sterndrive. The engine can be 'clutched out' to allow a purely electric drive to take over at lower speeds for which diesel power is inefficient, while during medium to high speed transits the batteries can be recharged to allow for efficient engine loading. At top speeds the electric drive may also be engaged for cleaner acceleration.


water taxi
The original Venice water taxi


Clean Carbon members:

Professor Suleiman Sharkh   and  Dr Mehdi Hendijanizadeh

With Partners REAP Systems










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