Norway building the world’s first battery-powered ferry

Norway continues to be a leader in alternative marine fuels. The country has been using LNG-powered ferries since 2000 and now has some 20 in service and more are on the way. Just this week, Berger Group Fosen delivered the Stavangerfjord to Fjord Line. The 170-meter (558′) vessel is the first large cruise ferry to be powered exclusively by LNG. The Stavangerfjord also has a heat-recovery system that captures exhaust gases to create steam-generated electricity sufficient to power all 300 cabins and public areas. 

Norled © battery-powered ferry

Now Norway is building the world’s first battery-powered ferry. Siemens has teamed up with Fjellstrand, a Norwegian shipyard, to develop a car ferry for Norled, a Norwegian ferry operator, to cross the Sognefjord north of Bergen. The 80-meter (262′) ferry will carry 120 cars and 300 passengers on the four-mile run. The twin-screw aluminum catamaran will be powered by a 10-ton battery that will be recharged during the 10-minute layover on each side of the fjord. Cavotec, a global engineering group, is supplying a MoorMaster system that combines automatic mooring and shore-to-ship power transfer. The mooring system will signal the alternative marine power (AMP) unit when the ferry is secure and a laser sensor will guide the AMP connector to a hatch on the vessel’s side where it will connect with the ship’s battery and start charging.

Because the local grids of the two small villages linked by the ferry will not have sufficient capacity to recharge the ferry’s battery in such a short time, each port will also have a large battery that will be slowly recharged while the ferry crosses the fjord. Using this system, Norwegians believe that all ferry crossing of up to 30 minutes could be served by battery-powered vessels.


About the author

Bruce Buls

With a degree in English literature from the University of Washington (Go Dawgs!), journalism experience at the once-upon-a-time Seattle P-I, and at-sea experience as a commercial fisherman in Washington and Alaska, Bruce Buls has forged a career in commercial marine trade journalism, including stints at Alaska Fishermen’s Journal and National Fisherman, WorkBoat’s sister publications. Bruce spent 16 years as WorkBoat's technical editor before retiring in May 2015. He lives on Puget Sound’s Whidbey Island, about 20 miles north of Seattle (go 'Hawks!).

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