Incat partners with DFDS to design hybrid fast ferries

2024-04-29T17:31:37+00:00 April 29th, 2024|Ships|

Fast ferry builder and designer, Incat Tasmania has formed a new partnership with Danish shipping and logistics company, DFDS to complete a design study for the construction of an electric-hybrid ferry.

The 72 m long ferry, which will have the option to convert to fully electric, is suited to a number of European ferry routes.

Incat CEO, Stephen Casey, claimed that the Tasmanian shipbuilder is ideally placed to design and build this next generation of ships for the world market.

“Since launching the design of our series produced electric ships last November there has been significant interest from many ferry operators, and we’re excited to work with DFDS on their projects,” Casey said.

“The Incat 72 m series is offered in a fully electric model that is suited to many ferry networks around the world.

“Incat’s industry leading design and construction capabilities, and our commitment to sustainability, make us the logical choice for ferry operators who want a vessel of the highest quality whilst minimising their environmental footprint.

“We know that battery electric or electric-hybrid propulsion coupled with lightweight aluminium on shorter sea routes will be the ideal choice to cut emissions, and it’s great to see major operators, such as DFDS, sharing in our goal to shape the future of de-carbonisation in maritime transport.

“Incat pioneered the development of large vehicle carrying catamarans in the 1990’s and now we’re ready to work with ferry operators around the world to showcase what the future of maritime transport looks like.

“Incat has specialised in lightweight aluminium vessel design and construction for the past four decades. Aluminium ferries, being approximately half the weight of their steel counterparts, require less power when operated at similar speeds and deadweights. This results in significant energy savings and emissions reductions,” he said.

Incat is based in Tasmania where the State generates 100% of its energy needs from renewables, and the energy consumed in the construction of Incat vessels comes from 100% renewable sources – a combination of hydro, wind and solar.

Tasmania has achieved net zero emissions for the past seven years in a row, making Incat the only shipyard in Australia, and part of only a handful in the world, able to produce zero-emission ships in a State that has already achieved net-zero.

Earlier, DFDS had reaffirmed its commitment to the electrification of cross channel transport following a meeting with UK Minister for Investment and Regulatory Reform, Lord Dominic Johnson.

The ferry and logistics company’s long-term goal is to operate up to six battery-powered vessels on its Channel routes, with the first two entering into service by 2030.

Minister Johnson visited DFDS’ headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark to discuss de-carbonisation of the shipping sector and the electrification of maritime traffic across the English Channel.

DFDS will deploy two battery-powered vessels in the Eastern Channel by 2030, which is a part of an investment programme in six green vessels – two methanol, two ammoniac and two electric – for a total of around DKK7.3 bill over the next six years.

The long-term goal is to introduce up to six fully electric vessels on the channel, which would be the world’s largest electric ferries.

Due to the relative short distance between the UK and the European continent, the routes on the channel are optimal for electric ferry transport. The English Channel links two of the world’s biggest economies and accounts for 33% of the trade between the EU and the UK.

Lord Johnson said: “With its superb infrastructure, technological advances and proximity to Denmark, the UK is the partner of choice for green investments like this. DFDS’ commitment highlights the value of our trading relationship and the strategic importance of the English Channel shipping route.”

“The UK Government remains steadfast in its aim to reach net zero by 2050 and the green transition of the cross-Channel shipping will create British and Danish jobs and strengthen both our economies,” he said.

Maritime transport’s green transition on the Channel not only relies on the ships at sea. A sufficient power supply on land and infrastructure to accommodate recharging facilities in ports are equally important to be able to complete the fleet’s electrification.

“We have a shared ambition with the UK Government to de-carbonise maritime traffic across the channel. The transition is not going to be easy. It requires significant investments in innovation, technology and infrastructure, and collaboration and partnerships between the public and private sectors.

“But I am confident that we will succeed. DFDS will invest in green vessels and co-operate with ports and governments on both sides of the channel to de-carbonise cross channel transportation,” added Torben Carlsen, DFDS CEO.

DFDS operates 12 routes connecting UK to France, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark and employs 3,300 people in five ports, several logistics offices in the UK and on board three UK flagged vessels.