By replacing its fleet of diesel-powered ferries with all-electric vessels, Transtejo will cut almost 50% of its total annual CO2 emissions
Bureau Veritas (BV) will class a series of 10 all-electric ferries being built for Lisbon service that will help advance Portugal’s sustainability goals.
Under construction at Spain’s Astilleros Gondán, the ferries are being built for operator Transtejo to replace existing diesel-powered vessels when they begin service between 2022 and 2024.
Transtejo signed the contract – valued at €54.44M – to build the 10 catamaran-hulled ferries with the Spanish shipbuilder in January.
With seating for 540 passengers on two decks, each 16-knot ferry will operate on three key routes linking Lisbon to Cacilhas, Seixal and Montijo on the south bank of the Tagus river.
In April, ABB signed a contract with Astilleros Gondán to supply an all-electric power solution for the ferries. Each of the 40-m glass reinforced plastic (GRP) ferries will be powered by 1,860-kWh battery packs. ABB’s initial contract covers the fully integrated electric power solution and an integrated marine and propulsion automation system for the ferries and the battery pack for the lead vessel in the series.
“These ferries are the perfect illustration of demand for new urban transportation”
Each ferry’s charging system will be located amidships, allowing charging on both port and starboard from towers located on the terminal’s floating pontoons. Onboard energy storage systems are designed to allow for a complete round trip on the longest planned route (using between 20-90% of maximum capacity). In the daytime, the ferries will use fast charging (3-4 MW), and slow charging (0.15-0.2 MW) overnight.
Reflecting the minimised noise and vibration levels from electric propulsion, the ferries will receive the class notations BV Comf-Noise 3 and Comf-Vib 3. Additionally, BV will certify the ferries with the notations: Passenger Vessel, Battery System, C (composites) and AUT-UMS (automated vessel), which provide a tailor-made framework addressing the requirements of these passenger ferries.
“These ferries are the perfect illustration of demand for new urban transportation,” said Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore commercial director Mathieu Philippe. “Zero-emission propulsion is available today for sustainable and fast passenger-ferry transport.”
Increased electrification of transportation, including inland waterway transport, will play a key role in helping Portugal achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. According to the national 2050 Carbon Neutrality Roadmap, the transport sector wants to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 98% compared to 2005. Central to this emissions target is strengthening the role of public transport and replacing fossil-fuel-burning vessels with a mainly electric fleet.
ABB estimates that replacing the 10 ferries operating on the Tagus river from diesel power to an all-electric integrated power solution will cut about 6,500 tonnes in CO2 emissions every year – equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions generated by around 1,400 passenger cars.
Transtejo reports its fleet consumed around 5,249,000 litres of diesel in 2019, resulting in about 13,122 tonnes of CO2.
“Cutting GHG emissions are top priorities in urban planning. Today, the technologies chosen for fast ferries operating so close to the heart of the city must be clean and green, as well as proven in terms of safety and reliability,” said Astilleros Gondán GRP Division director Antonio Pacheco.
Lisbon is among several major cities, regions and countries that are electrifying their public waterborne fleets. Others, such as Kochi, Norway, Rotterdam, Seattle, Singapore and South Korea, all have major newbuilding programmes underway. Ferries represent almost 50% of the global fleet of 322 vessels operating with battery technology, according to DNV Alternative Fuels Insight.