Electric ferry successfully completes maiden voyage in Denmark

electric ferry
© iStock/Martin Wahlborg

The world’s largest fully electric ferry has made its maiden commercial voyage between the ports of Søby and Fynshav in Southern Denmark.

The electric ferry, named ‘Ellen’, is a drive-through passenger vessel with the capacity to hold around 200 passengers and 30 vehicles. The passenger areas of the ferry are on the same level as the car deck to conserve weight; its bridge is made of aluminium rather than the traditional steel, while the furniture on the ferry is constructed from recycled paper materials rather than wood. The project was initially launched in 2015 with investment from the EU’s research and innovation funding mechanism, Horizon 2020; and forms part of Denmark’s Natura programme, which aims to provide sustainable, low-emission transport to Danish residents and visitors.

The ‘Ellen’ is powered by a lithium-ion battery system supplied by Swiss battery producer Leclanché, which also provided the vessel’s fire prevention and extinguishing safety systems. The unique battery system, which is projected to save more than 1,800 tonnes of maritime CO2 emissions annually, is designed to provide the electric ferry with enough power to conduct its journeys, with sufficient power remaining for emergencies. The drivetrain, power management systems and onshore charging stations for the ‘Ellen’ were delivered by Danish engineering firm Danfoss Editron.

Anil Srivastava, CEO of Leclanché, said: “We are very proud to provide specifically designed unique lithium-ion battery system to this ferry, the precursor to a new era in the commercial marine sector. With its 4.3MWh capacity, the [electric ferry] represents a new milestone in commercial marine propulsion. Over one year, it will prevent the release of 2000 tonnes of CO2, 42 tonnes of NOx, 2.5 tonnes of particulates and 1.4 tonnes of SO2 into the atmosphere. This project demonstrates that today we can replace fossil fuel thermal drives with clean energy, and thus contribute to the fight against global warming and pollution for the wellbeing of our communities.”

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