Australian-based manufacturer of high-speed catamaran ferries, Incat Tasmania has joined propulsion supplier ABB to explore the construction of an electric ferry with hybrid-electric propulsion.
The vessel could transition to battery power as shore charging becomes available.
Both companies have signed a letter of intent (LoI) that provides the framework for ABB to supply zero-emission power and propulsion solutions and evaluate a future commercial arrangement for the 148 m long ferry design and similar vessels.
Seeking a transitional route to zero-emission operations for the ferry segment, Incat and ABB will evaluate the suitability of the ‘Incat 148E’ – a ropax catamaran – to operate in hybrid mode, as well as adapting to full battery operation at a later stage.
“All at Incat are extremely excited at having the opportunity to work alongside ABB. This collaboration combines the world’s leading global technology company and the world’s leading lightweight shipbuilder into a partnership that is 100% focused on completely green energy transportation solution of future,” said Robert Clifford, Incat Group Founder and Chairman.
“Lightweight Incat ships use up to 40% less power than an equivalent steel ship, which means up to 40% less emissions. We’ve done extensive work in applying our excellence in ferry design to the specifics of electric propulsion. ABB is the ideal partner to help Incat realise our ambition to lead the shortsea shipping industry into a more sustainable future,” he said.
Conceived by Revolution Design, Incat’s in-house design office, the 148E would be built in Australia to DNV class to operate at speeds of up to 21 knots.
It would feature ABB’s patented Onboard DC Grid power distribution, ABB Ability Power and Energy Management System (PEMS), 800xA distributed control systems, a remote diagnostic system, and two ABB Azipod propulsion units.
ABB has had experience in delivering hybrid-electric propulsion solutions, and it has established a strong position as an integrator of marine battery systems for ferries, the company said.