How Bastø Fosen is electrifying Norway’s busiest ferry connection
The world’s largest all-electric ferry has been delivered after Norwegian operator Bastø Fosen received Bastø Electric in January.
The vessel plies Norway’s busiest ferry route Moss-Horten.
Built by Sefine Shipyard in Turkey, Bastø Electric has capacity for 600 passengers, 200 cars, is 143.24 m long and 20.7 m wide. It has an evacuation system with a 900-person capacity in case of an emergency.
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"When we signed the contract with the Norwegian Public Roads Administration in 2014 there were strict environmental requirements, but the technology was not ready for electrical operation. Technology and expertise have now evolved," says Bastø Fosen chief executive Øyvind Lund.
Sefine Shipyard business development assistant Alperen Subasi tells Passenger Ship Technology, “One of the main considerations in the design, was to build the vessel with a symmetrical structure below the main deck to keep the vessel functioning in case of damage to the forward or aft parts.”
Indeed, there are two battery and switchboard rooms, two enginerooms, and two steering gear rooms. Also, the vessel is built double ended, enabling it to berth at both ends. Considering its route, the vessel has been built with ice-class requirements.
During the vessel’s construction, the “most modern and environmentally friendly technologies” were used, says Mr Subasi. The vessel has four Tier 3 back-up generator sets and a 4.3 MWh battery capacity that allows it to operate as fully electric on its route. With feathering Azimuth propellers at both ends, the vessel can go in both directions. Additionally, the propulsion system can use both propellers in one direction simultaneously (100% one, 70% the other).
Behind the battery system
Mr Subasi adds “Another important feature is the vibration and noise levels. Thanks to its electrical operation system and low vibration, it is hard to tell the ship is actually moving.”
Regarding the size of the ferry and impact on the electric propulsion system, Mr Subasi says “The main concern was to provide sufficient battery power to meet the size of the ferry and the route’s demands. With the capacity built, the vessel is able to operate at up to 15 knots service speed.”
A Siemens battery system with lithium-ion batteries was used. Mr Subasi explains, “During the cruise, these batteries, which have many cells, are used primarily and they can be charged quickly. They have two charging units, starboard and portside, and the ferry can cruise for 40 minutes with its battery capacity. In an emergency, the generator sets can generate electricity and fill the batteries. The power management system decides how much of which battery will be used, and when to charge which battery.”
Siemens provided water-cooled batteries, which it said allowed ‘record-high’ charging power and will reduce battery cost and CO2 emissions. Siemens’ energy storage system includes a 4.3 MWh battery pack and an energy management system. Siemens will also provide battery charging infrastructure to be used for fast charging when the ferry is docked.
Explaining the benefits of its battery system, Siemens says the Moss-Horten ferry route pattern requires charging at a very high voltage with up to 7.2 megawatts (7,200 kW), placing great demand on the ferry’s batteries. “With such a high charging power required over a short time, the batteries produce a significant amount of heat. This heat could be distributed across many batteries, a costly solution that would require many batteries. Instead, Siemens provides a much more cost-efficient technology with a water-cooled battery that cools to an optimal level,” Siemens says in a statement.
Mr Subasi says the main challenge of the electric propulsion system was to keep the battery rooms at a certain temperature and at a certain humidity level. “The rooms need to be kept below 20°C using the air conditioning and ventilation systems,” he explains.
A Stenmann charging system is used to charge the batteries. It has two charging units on portside and starboard, and the cables from the shore are connected to the ship with a vacuum system.
Charging infrastructure – with a capacity of 7,200 kW – is being established in both Horten and Moss. DNV, which worked as a key partner on the project, says charging infrastructure in Horten is set for completion in April, while work in Moss should finish in August.
Other than the battery, IMO Tier 3 backup generators were chosen for this vessel, which also has an SCR system. “The vessel also has fully feathering Azimuth propellers, which helps to increase the efficiency on fuel consumption,” says Mr Subari.
Aside from the electric propulsion, the vessel features the capacity to operate autonomously. Mr Subari says “By incorporating autonomous crossing and autodocking features with Kongsberg Maritime’s bridge equipment, the vessel is sailing with autonomous manning. This means, the vessel can sail autonomously under the observation of the captain.”
Sefine Shipyard is building another battery-operated ferry for Bastø Fosen after signing a contract in February 2020. This vessel will be the fourth ferry which has been built by Sefine for the ferry operator. The Norwegian Ship Design Company (TNSDC) is the designer of the ferry, which will be about 54 m in length and have a 99-passenger capacity. With low-emissions generators and 342 kWh battery capacity, the vessel will be eco-friendly.
Mr Subaru says although it would be smaller in terms of its length and width, the next ferry will have the same battery system and similar features and technologies to Bastø Electric.
TNSDC acted as advisors for Bastø Fosen and delivered a substantial design and engineering package to Sefine Shipyard.
In statement marking the delivery of the ferry to Bastø Fosen in December, TNSDC hailed the new ferry as marking a “new era for Norway’s busiest ferry route Moss-Horten”.
When Bastø Electric enters operation in early 2021, it will be the starting point for electric operation, which will significantly reduce the route’s environmental footprint. TNSDC says when Bastø Fosen’s electrification programme is completed, greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced about 80% compared with the current diesel operation.
DNV operated as a key project partner on the Bastø Electric newbuild, with project manager Serhat Bedii Borakan co-ordinating classification and advisory activities. He describes Bastø Electric to DNV Maritime Impact publication as a “very special” and technically demanding project, but one that was well-suited to the local yard infrastructure and competence.
“The shipyards in our region are very specialised with regard to building high-tech vessels for challenging environmental conditions,” Mr Borakan says.
Maintaining supply chains during the Covid-19 pandemic was the main challenge. Mr Borakan says “This had a major impact on both the supply chain and the availability of visiting suppliers, with major delays expected.
“Thankfully, seamless co-ordination across the board, from all stakeholders, ensured an excellent team spirit and problem-solving approach. This helped us come together to cope with the challenging circumstances and ensure the minimum delay. It was an excellent partnership on a truly ground-breaking vessel.”
Bastø Fosen is converting two diesel-powered sister ships to electric propulsion, with the plan of bringing them into operation in 2022. DNV Maritime Impact says at this point, 75% of all departures will be “quiet, comfortable and all-electric”, saving 6M litres of diesel out of a total consumption of 8.5M litres per year.
TNSDC is also responsible for design and engineering for the conversion projects.
A ‘significant step’
Bastø Fosen’s Mr Lund was quoted by Maritime Impact as saying, “We are delighted we have the opportunity to further electrify Norway’s busiest ferry connection. Together with our owners the Torghatten Group, we want to be forward-looking, take social responsibility, and contribute towards the wider green shift in society. We see this development as an important step forward in that process.”
DNV – Maritime segment director for passenger ships Hans Eivind Siewers views Bastø Electric as a significant step on the journey to a more sustainable future in shipping in Norway.
“Developments in this segment are fast-paced,” Mr Siewers explains, “driven by government incentives and forward-thinking shipowners that are aware of their environmental responsibility. Bastø Electric marks a new milestone in the journey, demonstrating just how quickly technology and ambitions are evolving in the industry.”
He singles out how the new vessel has four times the battery size and almost double the passenger and vehicle capacity compared with the world’s first all-electric car ferry launched in 2015.
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