ABB To Supply Drive&Energy Storage Technologies For New Electric Ferry

Global electrical product and solution and provider ABB has been selected to supply the drive and energy storage technologies that will underpin Iceland’s first electrified ferry. The 70-meter long vessel will be powered by a mind-boggling 3,000kWh battery pack with a diesel generator that will serve only to supply backup power.

The point-to-point ferry will have capacity to take 550 passengers and 75 cars the 13 kilometers | 8 miles from Iceland’s Landeyjahöfn on the mainland over to Westman Island. Electrifying the fixed length, scheduled transit lanes of the seas represents some of the lowest hanging fruit for replacing heavy diesel engines with electrified powertrains and allows operators and vehicle manufacturers to explore the potential of electrification in marine applications.

The new ferry is able to ‘fuel up’ while in port thanks to ABB’s Onboard DC Grid system that charges up the 3MWh battery pack (!!) directly from a shore-side DC link. According to ABB, the ferry will be able to recharge in just 30 minutes, on average, with the direct DC connection.

The new shuttle was ordered by the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration to provide the 3,600 trips per year that the ferry will provide across Iceland’s rough coastal waters.

“Selection of ABB’s technologies for a vessel operating on such a tough route, where the water depth is sometimes limited to 4.5m, but wave heights can reach 3.5m, sets a new benchmark for battery power on board a ship,” says Juha Koskela, managing director of ABB Marine & Ports.

The massive battery may be the star of the show, but ABB will also provide the generators, transformers, switchboard, the power and energy management system, and the energy storage control system for the new ferry. Behind the scenes, ABB’s remote equipment monitoring tech will keep a finger on the pulse of the onboard equipment and ensure a long life. The remote monitoring solution pulls data up into the cloud to enable big data analytics, which a team of remote technical support personnel use to perform predictive maintenance analysis and schedule planned interventions.

Marine shipping vessels continue to be one of the largest single contributors to transportation emissions in the world, so seeing Iceland and ABB take up a leadership role in investing in electrification pilots like this is exciting. Much more work needs to be done, but every journey starts with that first, risky step into the unknown, into the future.