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Scandlines aims for zero emissions, battery-powered fleet by 2018

Scandlines aims for zero emissions, battery-powered fleet by 2018
Danish – German ferry operator Scandlines is aiming to have its fleet of six hybrid ferries operating fully on batteries with zero emissions by 2018.

Marc Bergstein, director of special projects for Scandlines, said that while they were quite a small ferry operator it was the largest operator of hybrid diesel electric ferries in the world. The company currently has four hybrid ferries operating on the Puttgarden – Rodby route, and two larger hybrid vessels are being phased in on the Rockstock – Gedser route.

Onboard its hybrid ferries Scandlines has replaced a 85 tonne engine with 50 tonnes of batteries.

Bergstein told a briefing for journalists at the State of Green in Copenhagen last week that it had invested over EUR25m on green technologies on the four ferries on the Puttergarden - Rodby route, which will reduce CO2 emissions by about 15% when fully implemented.

However, he said while it had seen good results from the hybrid ferries it did not yet have all four vessels on the route running optimally. This was due to challenges it has faced with class and authorities, the interface with other installations and the challenges of integrating with 1990’s IT platforms.

Despite these challenges it is Scandlines aim to have its fleet operating on fully electric engines with zero emissions by 2018.

The next stage in the move towards the 2018 goal will be “plug-in” hybrid ferries that can charge from the shore and operate the first and last parts of the voyage entirely under battery power.

Bergstein said they would look at the longer, one hour and 45 minutes route between Gedser and Rostock to run the ferries purely on battery power for the first and last 20-minute periods of the voyage, with the batteries recharging the middle part of the voyage when diesel engines will be used.

Given the limited nature of onshore power infrastructure he said, “We would probably need an onshore battery pack to quickly charge the ferry so it doesn’t draw to much on the shore infrastructure.

“This would be the first step towards zero emissions,” he said.

The development of charging infrastructure at the harbour for this route is the next challenge for Scandlines. “We do need to be able to do large scale charging at the harbour,” Bergstein said.

The ferry company would be looking for a partner to develop the charging infrastructure.

While the move to all battery powered, zero emission ferries is a pioneering one, it is also one that has to make financial sense for Scandlines. “We are a private company and we need to ensure our investments have a payback,” Bergstein stated.