July 2019 is quite the month for advances in battery powered large vessels. The MS Roald Amundsen arctic cruise ship is setting out for its maiden voyage, and the Ellen – the world’s most powerful electric ferry – is set to begin operations running between the Danish islands of Ærø and Fynshav.
While the 500 passenger cruise ship – operated by green ship pioneer Hurtigruten – runs only partially on battery power, the ferry – an EU H2020 project – is all battery all the time.
The Roald Amundsen can run on batteries for around 45 to 60 minutes, Hurtigruten Chief Executive Daniel Skjeldam told Reuters. “It’s designed to take excessive energy from the engines and put into the battery when the ship doesn’t need it, and put it back into the engine when the ship needs it — it is a way of reducing emissions significantly without having charging stations available.”
The ship has two Orca 680kW lithium-ion based batteries from Corvus Energy with a charge/discharge capacity of 1759 kW each. The ship was built with expansion capacity to include a battery pack five times larger.
You can explore the Roald Amundsen’s features on an interactive web page on the Hurtigruten site
Norway enacted law to halt emissions in arctic
The Amundsen runs mainly on fossil fuel, and will use the batteries when it is in delicate arctic waters. She set sail from Tromsoe and will travel through the Northwest Passage to Alaska before heading south and is scheduled to reach Antarctica in October.
Hurtigruten is also building the Amundsen’s sister ship, the MS Fridtjof Nansen and has announced plans to make 9 more ships – almost their entire fleet – electric hybrid by 2021, running on Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) and batteries.
In May of 2018 the Norwegian Parliament adopted a resolution to halt emissions “from tourist ships and ferries in the world heritage fjords as soon as feasible and no later than 2026.” Havila, the other company with routes in the arctic area, is planning to launch their 700 person battery ship in 2020.
The Future of the Fjords is a 400 passenger electric hybrid already sailing in the country’s fjords, and on a smaller scale, the Brim Explorer is a 140 passenger hybrid catamaran that offers more boutique-style tours of Norway’s arctic waters and islands.
Ellen – world’s most powerful all-electric ferry
While the news of the cruise ship is obviously important, what may be even more important in terms of accelerating adoption of electric ships is Denmark’s all electric passenger ferry Ellen.
The Danish ferry Ellen is a record breaker in a few ways. Most powerful all-electric ferry, largest battery on a ship (4.3 megawatt hour capacity), longest travel distance of any electric ferry (40 km / 22 nms, 7 times further than the next closest!), and the first ferry with no emergency diesel generator on board.
The 60 m / 150 ft ferry can carry 198 passengers and 31 cars. It The ship full-electric drivetrain and power management system is supplied provided by Danfoss and includes two 750kW propulsion motors and two 250kW thruster motors.
Ole Wej Petersen, Mayor of Ærø, said “Ellen is a concrete example of what a climate-friendly future can look like. I hope people will come to Ærø to experience Ellen and see how the standard for ferry transport can be in the future, not only in Denmark but all over the world.”