Construction has commenced on Medstraum, an electric fast ferry, at the Fjellstrand shipyard on the west coast of Norway
The 31-m catamaran vessel can carry up to 150 passengers. The ship is equipped with two electric motors, a 1.5-MWh battery with charging power of more than 2 MW and is designed for a service speed of 23 knots. Medstraum’s aluminium hull and superstructure was chosen to lower the ship’s weight and lower energy consumption.
The ship will be the world’s first fully electric and zero-emissions fast ferry classed in accordance with the International Code of Safety for High-Speed Crafts (HSC Code).
Medstraum will serve as the demonstrator vessel of the TrAM Project (Transport – Advanced and Modular) – initiated by industry cluster organisation NCE Maritime CleanTech and co-ordinated by Kolumbus, the independent mobility services arm of Rogaland County Council.
“TrAM’s overall aim is to develop new modular methods for the design and production of zero-emissions fast ferries for inshore passenger transport, to reduce investment costs and delivery time,” said Kolumbus project manager Mikal Dahle.
Drawing on partner Fraunhofer IEM’s experiences in modular production techniques from the car and aviation industries, Medstraum will feature a simplified design using advanced modularisation. The project aims to lower production costs and engineering hours for electric fast ferries by 25% and 70%, respectively, which will enhance their competitiveness.
Modularisation is a design-phase concept for handling internal complexity while allowing for external variety. Modular architecture enables the combination of individual modules so subsequent vessels can be tailored to specific customer requirements. Reusing modules also allows for faster development and production. Emissions reductions however, are the main driver of the project. Rogaland County’s Mayor Marianne Chesak said the Council “has a strategy to drastically lower emissions for all ferry routes.” As such, the Council has committed €6.8M (US$8.25M) in co-funding Medstraum, which will be owned and operated through Kolumbus.
The TrAM project began in 2018 and is backed by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme to the tune of €11.7M (US$14M) – making it one of the largest amounts ever awarded to a single project. The project has also received funding for dissemination activities from the Research Council of Norway.
The TrAM project scope also includes the development of two further ‘replicator’ vessels, one for passenger operations on the River Thames in London and the other for deployment on inland waterways in Belgium.
The pan-European consortium includes 13 European partners. The ship is designed and will be built by Norway’s Fjellstrand shipyard, Wärtsilä will provide energy systems and the propulsion system will be supplied by Servogear.
Vessel modules will be delivered by Leirvik with aluminium supplied by Hydro Extrusion Norway. Fraunhofer leads the work in adapting modularity models from the automotive and aviation industry to the needs of the maritime industry. The UK’s University of Strathclyde, National Technical University of Athens and German research institute Hamburgische Schiffbau-Versuchsanstalt are responsible for R&D, simulation and testing.
Dissemination activities are provided by NCE Maritime CleanTech and owners of the replicator cases are Uber Boats by Thames Clippers and De Vlamsee Waterveg.
Medstraum will begin a trial passenger service between the city of Stavanger and surrounding communities in Q2 2022 to test and validate the project’s findings.
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