Skip to main content

Green Fast Ferry - the world’s first 30 knots battery powered Air Supported commuter ferry

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - GFF (Green Fast Ferry - the world’s first 30 knots battery powered Air Supported commuter ferry)

Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2018-10-31

High speed transportation on inland waterways responds to a need but it has some drawbacks which reduces the market:
- Fuel consumption - means high operational costs
- Wake wash - means speed limits
- Emissions - means no future operations in cities
Inland waterways opens up opportunities for alternative commuting when traffic congestion increases.GFF meets the requirements of low energy consumption, low wake wash and no emission. Yet, GFF can offer high speed commuting to city centres in less than half an hour. A battery system that can take supercharging makes it possible to charge in less than 15 minutes while people get off and on.

Emissions of CO2, NOx and particles are hazardous to the climate and to the health of citizens. Ongoing global urbanization creates traffic congestion, long commuting times and health problems. Increased use of waterways with high-speed emission-free ferries is an attractive solution.

The overall objectives of the GFF project was make it possible for GFF to serve society in a cost efficient way. Therefore, GFF must become a standardized and classified product in order to fulfill the requirements of the shipowners that are keen to operate on inland waterways. To make it happen, it is necessary that ship owners, transport authorities and politicians not only hear or read about GFF and BB Green but also go for a ride to experience the very difference from traditional ferries.
"During the first year of the GFF project focus was on performance and demonstration. BB Green is a peak performance state of the art vessel and the customer satisfaction is based on optimizing speed, weight, energy consumption, number of passengers and range. These parameters coincide and counteract. So first thing was to optimize performance within given conditions. A lot of software adjustments and attaching interceptors has resulted in a performance slightly better than expected from tank tests.

Batteries are crucial to performance. LTO batteries on the demo boat have been performing well. However, the weight would be too high and the NMC alternative is not performing enough when it comes to charging time and life time. We therefore developed a new LTO type of battery system based on the same Toshiba modules with less weight and same performance. Thanks to the efficiency of the batteries the investment is 30 % lower than with conventional NMC systems. As a spin-off Echandia has delivered this new battery system to the seven electric ferries in Copenhagen.

Weight limits performance and efforts have been made to reduce weight. The development of new batteries is one example. Another is the finding that there is no need for a dieselgenerator which results in a considerable weight reduction. Furthermore, vendor search has led to a new type of permanent magnet motors with 65 % less weight.

A lot of work that is not visible has been done regarding cooling system, fire protection and complying to class and national regulations.

A 1.5 MW charging station has been developed in parallel. The charging station is integrated into a mobile floating jetty to make the introduction of the joint concept of a state of the art commuter ferry and charging infrastructure as easy as possible. The floating jetty will also make it possible for the ferry to automatically connect/disconnect the charging plug in less than 30 seconds.

During these two years, lots of people have gone for a ride with the BB Green vessel - operators, journalists, politicians, ship-owners and technicians. In May 2018, BB Green went through the Gota canal to Gothenburg and the island of Ockero. BB Green was demonstrated to inhabitants from eight islands in the surrounding archipelago as a future commuting vessel. On the way to Oslo demos were carried out in Stromstad and Fredrikstad. Based in Oslo during the Nor-Shipping conference, BB Green offered lots of opportunities to take a ride. Now the vessel is based i Sandefjord and potential customers go there for demo tours.

At the Electric & Hybrid Marine conference in Amsterdam in June 2017, operator Green City Ferries was given the ""Propulsion system of the year award"" for the BB Green driveline. At the conference as well as at 24 other conferences we have held speeches about the concept. Over the two years, 354 articles have been written about BB Green globally. A fast and emission free commuter."
By the time the GFF project proposal was written, nobody could imagine the speed of which the diesel engine would get discredited. While many cities now are issuing bans on diesel traffic, ferry operators start to realize the disruptive change. Following the change to emission free cars, the marine industry will soon also be aware of a dramatic change. BB Green is a new phenomenon in the market. Energy efficient, emission free and more of an IT-based vessel than a traditional machine room based vessel.

BB Green is an early bird with its limited but enough range for commuting. Battery technology and the maturing development of fuel cells for marine applications will soon increase the performance.

The cost of electricity varies a lot between countries as opposed to the diesel price which is about the same everywhere. In some countries like Norway and Switzerland the price of electricity is so low that that the difference in operational cost between diesel and electricity driven is up to ten times. Furthermore, the cost of maintenance is significantly reduced due to the fact that there are much less moving parts in an electric driveline than in a diesel ditto.

To summarize, there are three important trends in favor of BB Green:
1. The transfer from land to water for commuting in cities
2. The coming regulations regarding zero emission
3. The lower cost of operating electric vessels

The BB Green prototype has been the foundation of the development of a TRL 9 and MRL 9 GFF vessel. Two offers, one to Greece and one to Norway have already been made. Furthermore, Echandia Marine has received an order for battery systems to the seven electric ferries which will be operating in Copenhagen by the end of 2019.
Little wake wash in 28 knots