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article imageStockholm’s electric ferry is set to make waves around the world Special

By Kai Whiting     May 6, 2014 in Technology
Stockholm - In a capital city built across 14 islands, ferries provide a crucial service. In August, this year, one of Stockholm’s ferries - in the space of just ten minutes - will create the world’s first zero-emission waves in maritime public transport.
Back in 2012, the Swedish Energy Agency, Energimyndigheten as part of their “demonstration of electrically powered vehicles” programme, awarded a grant to Stockholm’s Echandia Marine. Their idea was to reduce the detrimental effects of ferry transport on the environment, such as high CO2, NOx and particulate matter emissions. Now in 2014, the agency’s vision takes shape in the name of the E/S Movitz prototype, a 75-foot ferry, retrofitted with two 125 kV electric motors that propel it and the rest of maritime transport into a zero-emissions reality.
Sweden is often heralded for having an exemplary energy and climate policy (due to the 2008/09:162 and 2008/09:163 legislation). This legislation set ambitious 2020 energy-related targets back in 2009, including at least a ten percent share of renewable energy in the transport sector and a vehicle stock that is independent of fossil fuels by 2030.
According to the International Environmental Agency, the country is one of few to reach its energy targets, thanks to the promotion of efficient and environmentally-friendly vehicles. One such vehicle is claimed to be the world’s first supercharged electric passenger ferry. Operated by Echandia Marine's sister company Green City Ferries, it takes just 10 minutes for the two super-advanced Nickel-Metal-Hydrid (NiMH) 180 kWh batteries to be charged sufficiently enough to carry 100 passengers on a Stockholm inner city route between Solna Strand and Gamla Stan.
Apart from its impressive technological specifications, the replacement of its original 250 kW diesel engine, with two innovative electric ones, placed outside the hull in “PODs”, stops the buying and burning of 50 m3 of diesel per year, which in turn prevents the entry of 130 tonnes of CO2, 1.5 tonnes of NOx and 80 kg of particle matter into the atmosphere. The latter has considerable effects on public, particularly respiratory, health.
The electric motors and their controllers have a much higher efficiency at 98 percent, than a conventional combustion engine – which registers values between 30-35 percent due to the limits of the Carnot Cycle. Add to the equation, the possibility that the electricity used to power the ferry could have been generated by renewable energy sources such as wind or small hydropower and this is some very clean tech, contributing to a greener, zero-emission and noise free world.
Speaking to Echandia Marine Director and co-owner, Jackie Cawthra:
The driving point was the CEO’s ambition to change the world for the better even though an electric motor is more expensive to run in Sweden because there are taxes on electricity and not on diesel fuel a policy the company the company is actively lobbying against
Should they succeed, and the 20-30% operation cost savings does indeed incentivise other ferry companies to follow suit, this retrofitted ferry will make waves in sustainable transport policy and practice, not just in Stockholm, but across the globe.
More about Ferry, Renewable energy, Sweden, Transport, Energy policy
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