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Ellen, an all-electric ferry with the claim of having the longest electric range, has been in operation for a few months now, and they estimate that the electric vessel is going to save 2,000 tons of CO2 emissions a year.

All-electric ferries

Ferries are a good place to start electrifying cargo transport on the sea since they cover the same routes again and again. It makes it easy to plan for the range and charging solution of all-electric ferries.

The operators of the first all-electric ferry in Norway, the Ampere, reported some impressive statistics after operating the ship for over two years.

They claim that the all-electric ferry cuts emissions by 95% and costs by 80%.

At an event last year, they announced their findings, and unsurprisingly, the potential cost savings are attracting a lot of orders for new all-electric ferries and for the conversion of existing diesel-powered ferries.

Not long after, Fjord1, a major Norwegian transport conglomerate that operates 75 ships, placed an important order with the Havyard Group to build a fleet of battery-electric ferries.

We have seen other routes with plans to electrify, like New York, which is getting its first electric ferry next year.

Ellen, the largest all-electric ferry

It brings us to Ellen, a large all-electric ferry operating between the island ports of Fynshav and Søby in southern Denmark.

They claim it is the world’s largest all-electric ferry, but the claim has been contested since there are bigger ferries with all-electric powertrains.

However, they seem to base their claim on the range.

Trine Heinemann, E-ferry project coordinator, told Euro News:

Firstly, we’re fully electric, so there is no oil on board to run anything on the ship. And secondly, it’s the distance that we cover, which is 22 nautical miles. That’s seven times what existing ships have covered. And the longer distances you start covering, the most usable your technology becomes. And I think in Europe it’s about 80 % of the ferry transportation that can be covered in a 22-nautical-mile range.

And they don’t have to worry about running out of battery power when they are miles at sea.

Heinemann says:

We reserve at all time a certain amount of energy in each battery room. So if you lose a battery room or have to shut it down for some reason, there will always be enough energy left in the other room to sail back to harbor or do all the emergency procedures that could be involved in an emergency at sea.

Ellen is equipped with two electric motors and a 4.3 MWh battery pack.

They charge the battery pack with surplus wind power from the Danish island, which means that it is always powered by clean energy.

The electric ferry has now been in operations for a few months, and they are confident it’s going to help save 2,000 tons of CO2 emissions a year.

In Europe, it is estimated that marine traffic is responsible for 12% of CO2 emissions — almost as much as passenger cars.

Therefore, they see the electrification of the sector as an important part of the decarbonization of transport.

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