70% of Norwegian ferry fleet can be replaced with greener alternatives

The electrification of the Norwegian ferry connection will contribute to both decarbonisation and stimulate innovation. Analyzes carried out by Siemens in collaboration with Bellona have contributed to an increased understanding of what is profitable and how the replacement should take place. Of the total of 180 ferries that cross Norwegian fjords, it will be worthwhile to replace 84 of the ferries for battery operation and 43 ferries for hybrid operation. This corresponds to over 70 per cent of the Norwegian ferry fleet.

Short trips favor battery operation: Calculations show that a replacement of 84 ferries for battery operation will require additional investments of NOK 3.5 billion, partly as a result of strengthened electrical infrastructure, charging solutions and aluminum hulls on the ferries.

However, the potential for savings is great. Each year, these ferries will have reduced their operating costs by NOK 700 million. This means that the extra cost associated with electrification has been reimbursed in just five years. In the cost calculations, the current technology and solutions are taken into account.

Furthermore, new technologies will contribute to extra energy efficiency. An example is the advanced propulsion type called Azipod developed by ABB. The unpredictable waves of the ocean can cause traditional ferries to move back and forth, wasting energy. Azipod is an intelligent system that uses power to move the ferry in all directions at a constant speed, regardless of wind or waves. These ferries use less energy during crossings, and can contribute to further streamlining of the fleet.

Another propulsion system is Autocrossing developed by the Kongsberg group. This system uses Azipull propellers. By being turned opposite by ordinary propellers, the vessel is pulled rather than protected. This reduces noise from the propellers by reducing cavitation – the formation of air bubbles. The propellers made of carbon composite material reduce the weight by as much as 50% compared to ordinary solutions. The low weight, combined with high efficiency, maneuverability and reduced fuel consumption leads to lower emissions.

Control systems, decision support systems and battery management systems are all examples of components that can help technology create both greener and more energy-efficient solutions for ferry operations and planning.

Sources: dfly.no,  maritimt-forum.no,  tu.no,  vikebladet.no