From Diesel to Electric Ferry?

The transport sector is responsible for about a third of the CO2 emissions in Denmark, and the focus is often on how to reduce the pollution from private motoring.

The maritime sector has not yet had the same exposure, even though e.g. huge and heavy diesel driven ferries also have a negative impact on the environment. At the same time, such local ferry routes are often expensive to run for the responsible municipalities, which makes an extensive optimisation of the ferry transport an intriguing prospect.

A common analysis project
Together with Horsens municipality, Insero and our department Mobility carried out an analysis of the technical and economic opportunities of electrifying a local ferry route from Snaptun to Endelave; a route with a large diesel ferry sailing up to four times a day. The project was ambitious in size and scope and could potentially be scaled to fit a number of other ferry routes.

Several collaboration partners within e-mobility and the maritime area were involved in the analysis, which specifically focused on whether the existing Endelave ferry could be rebuilt/modernised or replaced with the purchase of a completely new electric ferry built in aluminium or a lightweight composite.

A need to examine further alternatives
The conclusion of the project showed that it is practically possible to have a fully electric Endelave ferry, which creates savings on both operations and maintenance. However, the savings will not match the co-investment needed to purchase or rebuild the ferry. Among others, this is due to the necessity of new developments within both the charging infrastructure at Endelave and in Snaptun as well as on the ferry itself.

The project serves as a pioneering example and a motivation to further examine electrified shipping, and Horsens municipality is indeed continuing to look at alternative solutions – e.g. in the shape of a hybrid solution based on a combination of diesel and electricity.

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