Electric Ferry for China

By Keith Henderson at August 11, 2011 05:41
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Caption: Artist’s impression of BMT's all electric catamaran ferry for China, showing roof solar panels.
Image credit: BMT Nigel Gee Ltd

BMT Nigel Gee Ltd (BMT), a UK subsidiary of BMT Group Ltd, announces that it has won an order in China for the design of an all electric 150 passenger ferry. The new green ship design will be developed to offer a viable zero emission marine alternative to land based transport for inshore and coastal areas.

According to BMT a key factor in winning the order is their experience in low resistance hull form technology in use in many low wash catamaran ferries. In addition to the hull design the order includes the layout and styling of the vessel.

The ferry design uses a proven catamaran hull form with dimensions LOA 85 ft (26 m), beam 28 ft (8.5 m) and a draft of 3.8 ft (1.15 m). Propulsion will be electric motors, which will achieve a 10 kn (18.5 km/h) service speed. Solar cells will be incorporated into the roof structure to top up the energy level whilst the vessel is in use.

Electrical energy will be stored using an interesting new technology “VRB battery”. To my knowledge this is the first marine application of this technology. VRB stands for Vanadium Redox Battery which is basically a rechargeable fuel cell of the Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) type. PEM fuel cells provide the air independent submerged propulsion system used in the German U212 Class submarines.
Construction of the new all electric ferry will start by the middle of 2011 with trials and delivery by mid- 2012.


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