Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

By Jim Shaw 

Scandinavia Looks Beyond Fast Ferries


October 1, 2017

Designed by Multi Maritime, five new hybrid ferries being built for Norway's Torghatten Nord AS will operate on LNG and battery power. Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce

Scandinavia has long been known for its high-speed ferries but a shift has been taking place over the past half-decade to a slower but much more environmentally-friendly vessel that makes use of alternative fuels, hybrid technology or fully electric operation.

A leader in this realm is Norwegian ferry operator Fjord 1, which has recently signed a contract with compatriot shipbuilder Fjellstrand for the design and construction of a fully electric, battery-powered ferry for its route between Halhjem and Våge, towns located not too far from the Fjellstrand yard.

To measure 87.5-meters by 20.8-meters, the new boat will be a larger and more sophisticated version of the ferry Ampere, the world's first car ferry to be driven solely by batteries, which was delivered by Fjellstrand in 2015. The new vessel will be equipped for both higher speed and longer range than the earlier delivered ferry and will be capable of carrying 120 cars, or 12 trucks, and 296 passengers.

To be delivered in the fourth quarter 2018 it will be constructed of aluminum and will make use of a catamaran hull form.

All-Electric Touring

A smaller 42-meter by 15-meter hybrid vessel, the 400-passenger Vision of The Fjords, designed and built last year by Norway's Brødrene Aa, a company well-known for its fast ferries, is to be followed by an all-electric vessel that will make use of a carbon fiber hull and produce zero emissions.

While Vision of The Fjords is equipped with an electric hybrid propulsion system developed by ABB, and making use of MAN diesel engines in combination with ZEN Energy batteries, the new boat, to be named Future of The Fjords, will be all electric. It will be propelled by two 300kW electric motors that will give a cruising speed of 16 knots with minimum wake and quiet operation. A portion of its expected $17 million development price is being paid by Enova, an organization promoting low emission solutions in Norway which is backed by the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.

Norwegian electric energy suppler Aurland Energiverk is developing a shore-based charging infrastructure for the vessel that will support up to 700 round trips per year. Like , the DNV GL classed Future of The Fjords will incorporate a carbon fiber hull.

LNG Hybrid Ferries

Also to use fast shore charging, as well as shipboard charging, will be a fleet of five 134-meter LNG hybrid passenger and car ferries being built for the busy Halhjem-Sandvikvåg route in Western Norway operated by Torghatten Nord AS. Two of the vessels are to be completed by the Vard Brevik facility in Norway while the other three will be built by the Tersan Shipyard in Turkey, all for delivery by January 2019.

After considering the high environmental costs of fast sea transportation, Scandinavians are increasingly swinging to slower hybrid and electrically-operated vessels. Photo courtesy of Torghatten Nord AS.

The five vessels will incorporate an LNG electric hybrid propulsion system utilizing Bergen gas-burning engines of 2,430 kW output driving C26:33L9AG gensets. The Bergen C26:33 series is expected to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions by about 20 percent, compared to a similar-sized conventional diesel engine, and are IMO Tier 3 compliant without the need for an exhaust after treatment system.

Torghatten Nord also has two similar gas hybrid ferries, each capable of accommodating 180 cars and 550 passengers, under construction at Vard Brevik for delivery next year, but the hulls of these vessels are being built in Romania. Like the most recently ordered ferries, they will measure 130 meters in length, with a beam of 20.7 meters, and will have a speed of approximately 18 knots.

Torghatten Nord currently has 33 ferries in operation, including four earlier delivered LNG-fueled ferries that were built by Polish shipbuilder Remontowa.


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