Electric propulsion has a promising future in the shipping industry among other ship propulsion systems. Siemens along with Norwegian shipyard Fjellstrand will launch world’s first electric ferry, which will serve the route between Lavic and Oppedal from 2015 onwards.
The electric catamaran ferry has been designed in order to generate least resistance while in water. Two slim aluminium hulls have been used instead of steel in order to make the ferry run smoothly through water.
The electric propulsion system will have electric batteries weighing 10 metric tonnes to drive the ship’s screws. Presently the ships plying on the routes use Diesel engines, which use one million liters of diesel a year on an average and emits 570 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide and 15 metric tonnes of nitrogen oxide. Electric propulsion ferry will not only reduce fuel consumption but will also work a great deal towards reducing carbon emissions.
The most important feature of the electric propulsion ferry will be that it will take only 10 minutes to recharge in the breaks. This would be a great point to increase the frequency of ferry and improve connectivity between the villages. However, the local electrical grids of the villages will not be able to supply the power to recharge the ferries in such a short time. To solve this issue, batteries have been installed at the ports which will recharge the electric ferries in ten minutes and themselves slowly get recharged from the local grid.
Shipping company Norled has been granted to operate the route until 2025. Norway is famous for its car and passenger ferries, which link the mainland to the islands across its many fjords. Such electric propulsion ferry would be an excellent help to join villages with less travelling time between them.
Raunek Kantharia is a marine engineer turned maritime writer and entrepreneur. After a brief stint at the sea, he founded Marine Insight in 2010. Apart from managing Marine Insight, he also writes for a number of maritime magazines and websites.