Zero emissions

Fuel cells power ferry and boutique cruise ship newbuilds

A zero-emission ropax ferry for the Estonian State Fleet is to be fitted with hydrogen fuel-cell battery propulsion.

Lloyd’s Register (LR) has awarded Approval in Principle (AiP) for a hydrogen fuel-cell ferry designed by Finnish ship design and engineering company Deltamarin.

The zero emissions ferry is to be operated between the Estonian mainland and the islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa, on the Virtsu-Kuivastu and Rohuküla-Heltermaa routes, which connect the Baltic nation to its two largest islands.

As part of the certification, LR approved the current stage of the design process to be suitable for further design, construction and procurement of the ropax ferry. The thorough AiP process was conducted by LR experts and led by its Hamburg Technical Support Office. 

LR Key Account Manager Patrick Wrede said: “LR is pleased to have acted as a trusted adviser on this project with Estonian State Fleet to provide the Estonian government with a new battery-hydrogen fuelled ferry for the Virtsu-Kuivastu and Rohuküla-Heltermaa routes. Not only will this ferry help to progress the transition towards low and zero carbon vessels, but it will also provide improved connectivity between Estonia and its largest islands.” 

Deltamarin’s sales director Esa Jokioinen said that the development of the design was the result of “very extensive and thorough research of requirements of end users, where particular attention has been paid on safety, efficiency and environmental matters”.

Estonian State Fleet’s director general Andres Laasma said: “The Estonian State Fleet is committed to leading the way in innovation within its sector. To achieve this, we have undertaken a project to develop a passenger ship with a remarkably high level of autonomy. Despite the challenges involved in this complex endeavour, including regulatory hurdles, technological risks, and significant initial investments, the potential benefits are considerable. These benefits include cost savings, market leadership, innovation, and a positive impact on the environment. The Estonian State Fleet is confident that this strategic advantage will propel us to the top of our industry, setting the standard for others to follow.”

Meanwhile Swedish-Swiss technology company ABB is to power the first hybrid-electric polar expedition cruise ship built in South America. Chilean shipyard Astilleros y Servicios Navales (ASENAV) has ordered ABB’s power and propulsion systems for Antarctica21’s newbuild polar expedition cruise ship, Magellan Discoverer.

According to ABB, the project marks a milestone as the first installation of Azipod propulsion technology on a hybrid-electric vessel built in the Americas.

Accommodating up to 96 passengers and 67 crew members, the vessel will be operating in the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.  It is due for delivery in 2026.

ABB’s scope of supply comprises the Azipod propulsion system and a hybrid power plant featuring the Onboard DC Grid power distribution system, with battery bank from Corvus Energy. The ship’s energy storage system allows the engines to be switched off for silent operations in environmentally sensitive areas.  ABB’s Onboard DC Grid enables integrating a wide range of energy sources, including fuel cells, ensuring, says ABB, that the vessel is ready to comply with stricter emission regulations in the future. 

Image Caption: The Magellan Discoverer is the first hybrid electric vessel to be built in South America

Image Credit: Antarctica21 and ASENAV



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