A big step forward on one route this year is to be the adaptation of two large double-ender ships on the Elsinore (Helsingør)-Helsingborg (Sweden) crossing to 100% emissions free operation.
At only 4kms across, the route seems to be ideal for such treatment. The Norwegian built sisters Tycho Brahe and Aurora af Helsingborg (10,845,’91/2) of Scandlines’ offshoot HH Ferries, are 111 metres in length with a capacity of 1,250 passengers and about 240 cars. Their short route is heavily trafficked with 7.4 Million passengers and 1.9 million vehicles annually and the terminals can be readily fitted for charging the ships between voyages with automatic systems.
The ships being double enders working into easy non-tidal harbours, means they waste minimal time and energy manoeuvring. A nice touch is that, no doubt, much of the energy will be coming from the wind turbines that are proliferating in the shallow Danish and Swedish inshore waters.
By the time they have been refitted and refurbished this year, they will be good for many years of service more cheaply than building two new ships. They are being described as the world’s largest emission-free ferries.
The work will be undertaken by Öresund Dry Docks at Landskrona near Helsingborg, Sweden. The Swiss power company ABB will lead on the technology and will be fitting the 4.16 MW battery bank containers. Drydocking of the Tycho Brahe will begin in April and she will start operating as a fully electric ferry immediately after work is completed.
Aurora will undergo the same process in October 2017. At both ends of the route, ABB will install automated charging stations using an industrial robot which will automatically connect the ship to the charging system when the ships dock.
The CEO of HH Ferries states converting these ships to battery operation is an essential part of its environmental strategy to reduce emissions and, therefore, its environmental footprint on the Öresund. It is the largest single project investment in the company’s history and is cofinanced by the EU’s innovation agency, an indicator that the UK may miss out on funding for such schemes once out of the EU.
Arguably, the UK can find the funds for its own innovations, but that might be wishful thinking, when there are so many claims on limited government funds and UK governments seldom seem that interested in matters maritime.