Brodrene Aa technical manager Anstein Aa explains how the solutions used by the groundbreaking all-electric Future of the Fjords can be adopted worldwide
Brodrene Aa technical manager Anstein Aa explains how the solutions used by the groundbreaking all-electric Future of the Fjords can be adopted worldwide – while the vessel will help to introduce hydrogen
Future of the Fjords made headlines when it was delivered last year to The Fjords ferry operator as it is the first carbon-fibre vessel in the world to be fully electric. It is also the first vessel of its kind to offer completely emissions-free transport through the Western Norwegian UNESCO World Heritage-listed region.
And Norwegian shipyard Brodrene Aa, which built it, believes the vessel can fulfill the needs of other ferry operators to meet extremely stringent legislation. Technical manager Anstein Aa says “The technology solutions from Future of The Fjords are transferable to other vessel concepts and marine industries.”
He highlights transferable solutions as being:
Finally the ferry’s charging solution, PowerDock, has huge potential. This was developed because capacity in the local grid was limited and could not provide the charging power needed by Future of the Fjords. Therefore, the ferry operator and shipyard came up with the PowerDock. It charges steadily throughout the day via a connection to the local grid network.
Mr Aa comments “Infrastructure with charging facilities are in operation in Flåm and Gudvangen. Together with charging stations on Norwegian ferry quays, these form the start of a large-scale national development of this type of infrastructure, especially in places with poor network capacity. The PowerDock concept is very energy efficient, can be scaled in size and capacity and is also a removable installation. These four factors mean PowerDock is highly relevant both nationally and internationally.”
Brodrene Aa believes there will be a market for at least 10 vessels of the Seasight-class in Norway. And Mr Aa comments “The Seasight concept has had great interest far beyond Norway.” He says that shipping companies in San Francisco, Sydney, Hong Kong, Hamburg, UK, Sweden and New Zealand have contacted Brødrene Aa about the new vessel concept.
Importantly, the technology solutions are generally directly transferable to the next generation of zero-emissions vessels that will use energy from hydrogen with electric power generation by fuel cells.
Mr Aa says “The next phase in developing the Seasight-class is to use hydrogen as the energy carrier and fuel cell technology as the basis for a zero-emissions propulsion solution.”
Future of The Fjords is designed to accommodate hydrogen-based energy systems when the technology is commercialised. Hydrogen technology for propulsion will have applications in both conventional high-speed vessels and other types of maritime transport.
Mr Aa comments “In many Norwegian fjords, there is great production and overcapacity in electrical energy. This overcapacity is an argument for increased focus on battery or hydrogen-powered passenger vessels. The use of locally produced energy has a positive effect both environmentally and economically. The wider deployment of the required charging facilities strengthens the commercial value of battery-powered vessels and positively affects secondhand value.”