First Sea Going Hybrid Ferry

By Keith Henderson at April 26, 2011 06:00
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The local ferry services in Scotland and Ireland have much in common and is a necessary service to maintain the life blood of these remote communities. Many of the present ferries are approaching the end of their usable life and decision on replacement is fast approaching.

The Small Ferries Project as it came to be called, covered the three different authorities of Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. As such it was eligible for EU inter-regional grant, and for this project amounted to $386,000. Adopting a common design, would offer an approximate 15 per cent overall saving in procurement costs.

The design requirement is for a RoRo ferry with a service life of 25 years. The service speed is nine knots and a carrying capacity of 150 passengers, 23 automobiles or two trucks. After considering different propulsion systems including fuel cells it was decided that the best compromise would be a 400V hybrid system of diesel gensets and batteries powering electric propulsion motors.

The battery capacity is sufficient to provide a minimum of 20 per cent of energy consumed on board. As the ferries lie alongside at night, the batteries are charged from a shore supply.  Charging the batteries from renewable sources such as wind, wave or solar systems, may in the future, provide additional environmental benefits.

A feature of this design is that the ferries could be easily modified to take advantages of improvements in technology concerning fuel cells and batteries, thereby reducing the use of diesel gensets and associated emissions.

Tenders for the supply of two of these new hybrid ferry designs will be issued during 2011 with the anticipation that the ferries will become operational in 2013.


Caption: Images of the planned world's first seagoing RoRo passenger hybrid ferry

Image credit: Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited

Image credit: Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited

Comments (3) -

Very educative information. I have been searching this type of information from a long time.

Thanks for posting.

send voice sms |     4/26/2011 8:43:49 AM #

It would be useful to have a few more facts. From the article it would appear that the payload is somewhere in the region of 60-75 tons. What is the weight of the batteries? Does such weight justify 20% savings in "ordinary" fuel consumption, or could the 20% be saved without the "battery ballast?

Paul A |     4/26/2011 2:20:37 PM #

Good point about the initial cost verses fuel savings of battery equipped vessel. Also, what is the "life" cost taking into account battery replacement and disposal. Used batteries are classified as hazardous waste.

Paul M. |     4/26/2011 2:47:43 PM #

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