In a major step forward for sustainable travel, Australian shipbuilder Incat Tasmania is teaming up with Finnish and Norwegian tech firms to build the world’s largest electric-powered ferry. This colossal ship, which is being assembled at Incat’s Tasmanian facility, will serve South American shipowner Buquebús and is expected to hit the waters by 2025.
So, what makes this ship so remarkable? Well, for starters, it will have the ability to transport up to 2,100 passengers and 225 vehicles between Argentina and Uruguay. But the real game-changer here is the ship’s propulsion and energy storage systems. Finnish company Wärtsilä is set to supply the electric motors and cutting-edge water jet propulsion systems. Meanwhile, Norway’s Corvus Energy will provide an Energy Storage System (ESS) with a whopping 40MWh capacity. That’s four times larger than any battery ever installed on a ship!
According to Corvus, this mega-battery system has only been made possible thanks to their latest high-density batteries, designed specifically for lightweight vessels. These batteries will feed power to the electric motors, which in turn drive the ship’s eight water jets. The brains behind all these high-tech systems? An energy management system provided by Wärtsilä. This software not only optimizes the ship’s overall performance but also helps the crew with user-friendly display interfaces.
Paul Kohle, the Vice President at Wärtsilä, described the energy management system as the “brains of the system,” highlighting its role in fine-tuning the operation of the vessel. The synergy of these technologies not only propels this individual project but also opens up incredible opportunities for other maritime routes. Halvard Hauso, Commercial Director at Corvus Energy, is already eyeing the English Channel as a potential route that could be operated on zero emissions.
Beyond being a marvel of modern engineering, the ship symbolizes a significant pivot towards sustainability in the maritime industry. Hauso went on to say, “This groundbreaking project marks a turning point in the maritime industry’s effort to transition towards greener means of transportation. It redefines the future of ferry operations worldwide and paves the way for other large, zero-emission vessels.”
The global shipping industry is gradually sailing toward a greener future, and Norway is leading the fleet with over 60 electric ferries already in operation. This new mega-ferry, born out of a collaboration between Incat, Wärtsilä, and Corvus, sets a new benchmark for what’s achievable. And while the world is still experimenting with other innovative solutions like giant sails and even modernized pirate ships to cut down on emissions, it’s projects like this one that truly make waves in the journey towards a sustainable future.