World’s first electric fast ferry delivered

2022-07-23T20:44:33+00:00 July 23rd, 2022|Environment|

‘Medstraum’, the world’s first fully electric and zero-emission fast ferry, classed as a high speed craft, was recently delivered.

She was built using modular manufacturing methods at the Norwegian shipyard, Fjellstrand. Modularisation helps cut both production and engineering costs and will contribute to making electric-powered high speed vessels competitive in terms of both cost and the environment.

Whilst traditional fast ferries running on fossil fuels are known for being highly polluting, ‘Medstraum’ will vastly improve the carbon footprint of its owner, Kolumbus, a Norwegian public transport company.

“We are very happy to finally get this flagship delivered. Kolumbus aims to be at the forefront of adopting new and environmentally technology,” Kolumbus’ Project Manager, Mikal Dahle, said.

The company currently operates 10 fast ferries, some regular ferries, and 450 buses.

“’Medstraum’ will cut our emissions by 1,500 tonnes a year, despite operating on our least energy-demanding route. That’s the equivalent of 60 buses,” Dahle added.

In late summer, the vessel will welcome passengers for scheduled operations between Stavanger and Homersåk.

“It’s been challenging building this ship, as it’s never been done before, but we’ve learned a lot. Fast ferries require a lot of energy, so we needed to make ‘Medstraum’ lighter and a lot more efficient than traditional fast ferries.

“We’re very happy and proud to have accomplished that. It is revolutionary that a vessel of this size can operate at 23 knots for an entire hour by electricity alone,” commented Edmund Tolo,  Fjellstrand’s R&D head.

In 2015, the world’s first fully-electric ferry, ‘Ampere’, was built by Fjellstrand in Hardanger, Norway. That marked the start of an electric revolution on Norwegian ferries. Now, only seven years later, there are around 70 emission-free ferries operating in Norway.

“’Medstraum’ is already stirring great interest internationally. The maritime industry across the world is now looking at what we achieve in our maritime cluster. This could really be the start of a new adventure for our industry.

“Not only have the project partners developed and demonstrated a new and emission-free propulsion system that can maintain higher speeds than before, we have also adopted completely new modular design and construction methods that will revolutionise the way we build boats in the future,” added Hege Økland, CEO of Maritime CleanTech, the cluster organisation who initiated and established the EU-funded TrAM-project, which resulted in the fast ferry.

“The modular way of thinking is absolutely central to the project. This means that ships can be purpose-built by putting together finished modules, which can be built in different places. This will save both time and money in the design and construction phase. It will also make it easier to get more boats into the market faster. This way, we can reach future emission requirements faster, by replacing fossil fast ferries with electric ones, like ‘Medstraum’,” Økland concluded.

The 1,524 kWh battery was supplied by Corvus Energy, which drives the two 550 kW engines of the 30 m long and 9 m wide ferry, at a cruising speed of 23 knots.

This pilot vessel was a result of the EU-funded TrAM-project, and was partly funded by Rogaland County Council. The project partners were Maritime CleanTech, Kolumbus, Rogaland County Council, Fjellstrand, Leirvik, Hydro, Servogear, Wärtsilä, HSVA, University of Strathclyde, National Technical University of Athens, Fraunhofer IEM, Uber Boat by Thames Clippers and De Vlaamse Waterweg.