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Norwegian legislation spearheads drive towards battery-powered ferries

Tue 28 Aug 2018 by Rebecca Moore

Norwegian legislation spearheads drive towards battery-powered ferries
Siemens provided the propulsion and battery solution for Ampere, the world’s first fully battery-powered car ferry

Norway’s tough environmental legislation is spearheading the drive towards electric hybrid and battery-powered ferries, with several innovative newbuild projects highlighting recent developments

Earlier this year, the Norwegian Parliament announced it has adopted a resolution to halt emissions from cruise ships and ferries in the Norwegian world heritage fjords as soon as technically possible, and no later than 2026. Operators must conform, and this is resulting in a scramble towards battery and hybrid diesel-electric power as a standard means of propulsion.

Siemens head of offshore and marine center Torstein Sole-Gärtner told Passenger Ship Technology “In the near future most ferries [in Norway] will include some kind of energy storage, and we also think that by 2020 there will be 60 ferries that are hybrid or electric in Norway.”

The development of battery ferries in Norway is expected to drive similar developments in the ferry sector further afield.

Mr Sole-Gärtner said “One of our major plans is to take the electric propulsion and battery technology developed in ferries globally from Norway, to help develop the electric propulsion marine sector.”

Siemens is opening a fully automated and digitalised plant in Norway in Q3 2018 that will develop and manufacture energy storage technologies for both marine and offshore oil and gas applications.

Indeed, the company has been at the forefront of developing electric propulsion and battery technology for the ferry industry. It provided the propulsion and battery solution for Ampere in 2015, the world’s first fully battery-powered car ferry. Mr Sole-Gärtner said the solution was based on technology Siemens had developed for the offshore industry. With the change from diesel propulsion to battery, Norwegian shipowner Norled has reduced the cost of fuel by 60% on Ampere.

Other recent contracts include two new battery-powered ferries for Fjord1 (announced in 2016) and the electric solution for FinFerries’ battery-powered car ferry Elektra, delivered last year. Most prominently, Siemens is providing the electric propulsion and energy storage solution, management and automation for Color Line’s new battery-diesel hybrid vessel, which will be the largest battery-hybrid plug-in ferry in the world when delivered next year.

Siemens is using its BlueDrive PlusC propulsion system and the new BlueVault lithium-ion energy storage solution, which aims to reduce emissions and risk for offshore and marine deployment. Mr Sole-Gärtner said “One advantage is that it allows integration of the energy storage system in an efficient way without a lot of equipment.” The system uses a direct current rather than an alternating current, which makes it “fit for purpose for use with a battery system” and it works more efficiently with a battery system compared to an alternating system.

One challenge Siemens must overcome in the installation is the sheer size of Color Hybrid. “The propulsion system and batteries are larger than those usually deployed in a ferry, but the technology is scalable, so it can meet different needs and be used across small and large ferries,” explained Mr Sole-Gärtner.

An increasing number of newbuilds using diesel-electric propulsion are being announced. In July this year Remontowa Shipbuilding signed a contract to construct two double-ended hybrid ferries for Norled. 

The new ferries will be equipped with a diesel-electric hybrid system. The shipyard explained that in normal operation the required power will be taken from two battery packs installed on board. The batteries will be recharged from the land grid during the vessels’ stay at quay, which will typically be about 11 minutes.

Remontowa added that a fast charging solution of pantograph or plug-in type will be used to ensure the required state of charge of the batteries is maintained. The shore charging system will be integrated with an automatic mooring system of vacuum or magnetic type, holding the ferries when at quay and giving the ‘green light’ for the charging process to start.

The intention is to use the generating sets the vessels will be equipped with, running on 100% biodiesel, only in case of emergency. The electric system will be prepared to operate them alongside batteries, for example in peak shaving mode.

The new ferries will service the Festøya-Solavågen connection. They will be capable of carrying up to 120 cars and 296 passengers.


 

Rolls-Royce launches batteries developed with ferry operators

Rolls-Royce is launching a lithium-ion based energy storage system it developed with Color Line and Norled ferry operators for use in a variety of marine applications.

Rolls-Royce began offering battery systems for vessels in 2010, but they were all developed by third parties until the company's partnership with Color Line and Norled.

Three shipowning companies, Color Line, Norled and the Norwegian Coastal Administration Shipping Company, partnered with Rolls-Royce in the battery system's development, “ensuring that the energy storage system covers a wide variety of marine applications, including ferries, cruise vessels and multi-purpose vessels”, according to a statement from Rolls Royce.

Rolls-Royce described its new SAVe Energy product as a modular, liquid-cooled battery system that can be scaled according to a vessel’s energy and power requirements, noting SAVe Energy complies with international legislation for low- and zero-emission propulsion systems.

Rolls-Royce said SAVe Energy can be applied to supply and supplement power during several engine operating sequences, including peak shaving and spinning reserve, and can be coupled with most types of propulsion units. In a hybrid set up, SAVe Energy handles the peak load, while the main power generators relate to the average load, allowing the propulsion units to maintain thrusting capabilities.   

“The electrification of ships is building momentum,” said Rolls-Royce executive vice president Andreas Seth. “From 2010, we have delivered battery systems representing about 15 MWh in total. However, now the potential deployment of our ... SAVe Energy in 2019 alone is 10-18 MWh.”

Mr Seth said battery systems have become a ‘key component’ of power and propulsions systems at Rolls-Royce and the company will add its new battery system to several ongoing projects. These include the upgrade programme for Hurtigruten’s cruise ferries.

 

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