World’s most powerful battery-electric ferry sets out to sea
Ellen, a fully electric ferry for 198 passengers and 31 cars or five trucks, has set out to sea last week for its daily service between the Danish islands of Ærø (Søby) and Als (Fynshav), a distance of 22 nautical miles (40 km).
The Danish claim it’s the world’s most powerful 100% electric ferry until now with a battery pack of 4,3 MWh. And it is the first electric ferry that no longer has a diesel generator for a backup.
Largest battery pack
The battery pack was designed and delivered by Swiss lithium-ion battery maker Leclanché. It is said to be the largest battery pack installed on a ship today. To compare, 4,3 MWh is roughly 57 times the battery capacity of a Tesla 3 Long Range (75 kWh) or 45 times what Porsche’s Taycan (96 kWh) is to deliver.
Leclanché uses high-energy lithium-ion G-NMC cells with ‘unique safety features’. The ‘wall’ of batteries aboard the ship has an integrated fire extinguishing system with foam, among others.
Four electric motors
The ship, 60 meters long and 13 meters wide, was built at the shipyard in Søby. It has four electric motors delivered by Danish Danfoss Editron, two main propulsion engines of 750 kW, and two trusters for maneuvering of 250 kW. They can propel the ‘lightweight’ ship of 650 tons at a maximum speed of 15,5 knots (28 km/h).
By replacing a traditional diesel ferry by the full electric Ellen, the Danish accomplish annual emission savings of 2000 tons CO2, 42 tons of NOx, 2,5 tons of particulates and 1,4 tons of SO.
Funded by EU
Ellen is part of the Danish Natura project aimed at providing green transport for residents. It’s partially financed by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program. That was founded in 2015 to replace as much diesel ferries by ‘green alternatives’ as possible in Europe on short distances under 50 km.
In Scandinavia, at least 200 ferry routes are suitable for being electrified, Leclanché estimates, and over a thousand in the whole of Europe. From 2016 to 2024, the company sees a yearly growth rate of 8% for maritime applications.