World’s ‘first’ fully electric ship wins eco award

A car-carrying ferry dubbed the world’s ‘first’ zero-emission, fully-electric ship has been awarded the Seatrade Clean Shipping award for 2015.

The Ampere zero emission electric ferry runs between two villages in Norway

The Ampere zero emission electric ferry runs between two villages in Norway

Owned and operated by Norwegian ferry firm Norled and designed and constructed by shipping company Fjellstrand, the DNV GL classed car ferry known as Ampere is a fully battery driven catamaran made of aluminium.

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. It is one of three ferries operated by Norled on the route and runs 34 times each day with a crossing time of 20 minutes.

Between trips, the 1MWh lithium-polymer battery pack on board can be changed in 10 minutes.

As the power required to charge the vessel is beyond the capacity of the electrical grid serving the villages, 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.

According to Norled, compared to a standard diesel ferry serving the same route, the Ampere saves about one million litres of fuel each year as well as preventing 2,640 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

Emissions of particulate matter, nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulphur dioxide (SOx) are also eliminated. In economic terms, battery hybridisation of ferries can provide potential fuel cost savings of 10% to 30%, with a payback time of three to five years, while all-electric ferries can produce fuel cost savings of 50% to 80%.

The award was accepted by Sigvald Breivik, technical director of Norled, on behalf of the project partners. He said: “Norled are proud to be the first ferry operator to operate the world’s first zero emission ferry.”

Narve Mjøs, director battery services and projects at DNV GL Maritime, added: “We are honoured to have been part of the Ampere project and to have received this award. This has been a very exciting project to work on and we were very pleased that we could help to realise the vision of Norled and Fjellstrand. Vessels such as the Ampere demonstrate how the industry can use existing technologies to improve its impact on the environment, while at the same time maintaining economic operations.”

Norwegian shipping magazine ‘Skipsrevyen’ also previously gave the annual ‘Ship of the year’ award to the Ampere’s owners, designers and yard.

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Fjellstrand AS