World’s first large, fully electric vessel gets award

May 14, 2015 10:49 am Published by

Ampere, the world’s first large, fully electric vessel, has received the Seatrade Clean Shipping award for 2015. Owned and operated by Norled and designed and constructed by Fjellstrand, the DNV GL-classed car ferry is a fully battery driven catamaran made of aluminium. Innovative not only in its propulsion system but in its highly efficient hull design, the 80-metre long vessel is able to carry 120 cars and 360 passengers across the Sognefjord between the villages of Lavik and Oppedal in Norway.

The award was accepted by Mr Sigvald Breivik, Technical Director of Norled, on behalf of the project partners. “Norled is proud to be the first ferry operator to operate the world’s first zero emission ferry,” he said.

Ampere was christened by the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Monica Mæland, at the Fjellstrand yard in October 2014, and is one of three ferries operated by Norled on the route between Lavik and Oppedal. The ferry runs 34 times each day, with a crossing time of 20 minutes. Between trips, the 1MWh lithium-polymer battery pack on board can be charged in ten minutes. As the power required to charge the vessel is beyond the capacity of the electrical grid serving the villages of Lavik and Oppedal, battery buffers have been installed at both ports. These buffer batteries can be continuously charged from the grid to provide a quick charge to the ferry’s batteries.

Compared to a standard diesel ferry serving the same route, the Ampere saves about one million litres of fuel annually, as well as preventing 2,640 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, a release highlighted. Emissions of particulate matter, NOx and SOx are also eliminated. In economic terms, battery hybridisation of ferries can provide potential fuel cost savings of 10 per cent to 30 per cent, with a payback time of three to five years, while all-electric ferries can produce fuel cost savings of 50 per cent to 80 per cent.

The combination of the slim aluminium catamaran hull and propulsion system of 2 x 450 kW Azimuth thrusters and 2 x 450 kW electric motors means the Ampere is optimised for energy efficiency, while at the same time giving the vessel very good low speed and manoeuvring characteristics. Ampere has the DNV GL class notation 1A1 LC R4 (nor) Car Ferry C Battery Power. The battery power notation is mandatory for vessels that use batteries as one of their main sources—or the sole source—of energy for propulsion, the release pointed out.

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