The world’s first electrically powered car and passenger ferry, namely Ampere, started service in Norway earlier this year.
Conventional ferries use approximately one million litres of diesel fuel and cost up to 60% more than an electric ferry to operate. Ampere, operated by Norled, makes 34 fjord-crossings a day, powered by two electric motors. Each motor is powered by lithium-ion batteries, which are recharged whilst cars and passengers board the ferry at each pier. The ferry only uses 150kWh per route, which corresponds to three days use of electricity of a standard Norwegian household.
The electric motors are low-noise and emission-free, running on electricity generated by local hydroelectric plants. Made exclusively of aluminium rather than steel, which reduces its weight by half, the ferry’s hull also incorporates new forms of design to reduce embedded carbon and increase energy efficiency. This technology has been jointly developed by Siemens and the Norwegian shipyard, Fjellstrand. The project emerged from a competition arranged by Norway’s Ministry of Transport and Communications to develop the most environmentally friendly ferry.
Norway alone has at least 50 coastal routes where the emission-free battery system could be deployed. Mario Azar, CEO of the Siemens Business Unit Oil & Gas and Marine, contends, “We are both optimistic and excited about this technology and how it will help shape the future of environmentally friendly maritime technology”.
Adapted from a piece by Juliette Aplin for the Futures Centre.
Mario Azar, CEO, Siemens
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