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MAREK GRZYBOWSKI writes to ” eBlueeconomy” Electric water taxis and buses – ecological transport in metropolises

eBlue_economy_Marek Grzybowski 
Cities with canals and rivers are looking for methods to reduce environmental pollution, reduce cars, persuade residents to use public transport. The world’s fastest electric passenger ship is expected to ensure communication between the islands of Stockholm in 2022. The autonomous small electric ferry MilliAmpere transports passengers and bicycles through the Ravnkloa Canal in Trondheim. Scientists from the Gdańsk University of Technology have designed a small electric ferry. The team is headed by prof. Wojciech Litwin

MV Ampere ferry was the first

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An aluminum “Ampere” hull was built in a Polish shipyard. MV “Ampere” is the world’s first car ferry (ZeroCat™ 120 project) powered by electric batteries. The ferry connects Lavik with Oppedal. The ferry has been operating in the Sognefjord since 2015. The Sognefjord is Norway’s longest and deepest fjord. The ferry operator is Norled, a Norwegian shipowner responsible for the group’s ferry transport.
The company operates 45 car ferries (including 5 electric ferries), 17 fast ferries, and one water bus. MV “Ampere”  crosses the Sognefjord about 34 times a day.  The vessel has a capacity of 360 passengers and 120 cars. The 6 km crossing takes 20 minutes. The 1,000 kWh Li-ion battery system of the ferry is charged at each quay for about 10 minutes. The ferry was designed in the Polish design office Nelton.
The hull of the ZeroCat™ 120 project was built at the Gdańsk Aluship shipyard. ZeroCat’s ™ full day’s operation would consume 6000 kWh, plus it could eliminate nearly 3000 tons of CO2 emissions – informed Siemens. The Siemens power management system contains 224 Corvus Energy AT6500 modules with a total capacity of 1.46MWh.

Zero Emissions Sea Bus

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Scientists from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) designed and built a mini ferry. MilliAmpere 1 is a prototype. „It is a battery-powered 5 by 2.8-meter monohull fit for up to 5 researchers, equipped with 2 azimuthing thrusters, computing hardware, and a sensor package consisting of RTK GNSS, radar, lidar, optical cameras, and infrared cameras” – informed NTNU. The ship is tested in real conditions in the city of Trondheim. In December 2020 milliAmpere completed a three-hour fully autonomous operational test in Trondheim.
The autonomous ship control system was tested on this prototype of a small ferry. Another prototype of milliAmpere 2 was built after a period of testing and correction of the developed solutions for controlling the autonomous ship. It is a full-scale prototype designed to become a living lab in Trondheim city, with capabilities and supporting infrastructure enabling trial passenger operation. The milliAmpere 2 is scheduled to be launched in Q1 2021, undergo commissioning and testing through Q1 and Q2, and be put into irregular trial operation in Q3 – informed NTNU Technology Transfer.
Zeabuz (Zero Emissions Sea Bus) is a new autonomous ship. It was also designed by NTNU scientists. A subsidiary of NTNU Technology Transfer was established to commercialize the electric design of the autonomous ship. The commercialization of the project is carried out by the company’s management: Bjørn Haugland, the former DNV senior executive, and Skift Business Climate Leaders owner and CEO chairs Zeabuz, and co-founders Erik Dyrkoren, CEO, and Henrik Stray, chief operating officer. The startup has received financial support from the Norwegian Innovation Fund.

Hydrofoils in Stockholm

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An electric passenger ferry E/S Sjövägen has been operating between the islands of Stockholm since September 2014 – informs Gustaf Myrsten, CEO, Rederi AB Ballerina, the ship’s operator. The electric-powered vessel serves line 80 and has 10 stops in the center of Stockholm. Rederi AB Ballerina has been in operation for several years and has over 20,000 operating hours to its credit. The ferry for 150 passengers is operated even in winter.
The Swedish administration intends to buy a vessel that will move at a speed of up to 30 knots on the Stockholm waters, said Tobias Carlsson, the Strategist in the Strategic Planning Group of the Transport Administration of the Stockholm Region to the participants of the webinar organized under the ELMAR project. About  100 thousand people traveled by water transport in Stockholm in 2005. 392 thousand passengers were in 2014, 694 thousand passengers in 2016, and 1 352 thousand people in 2019. The number of people transported by ships would drop to 1 187 thousand passengers due to the pandemic in 2020. But this is still an impressive result.

Demand for electric water taxis will grow

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Stockholm’s administration plans to replace 60 diesel-powered ferries with electric ferries. It is a joint pilot project of the Swedish producer Candela and the Swedish Transport Administration. These will be hydrofoils. As a result, ships will cause minimal damage when transporting passengers between stops. The first world’s ‘fastest all-electric passenger ferry is set to launch on Stockholm’s waterways in 2022.
Polish engineers design modern autonomous ships and electrically powered ships, which were presented at the conference “Autonomous ships – Inevitable reality at sea” organized by the Gdańsk University of Technology, the Baltic Sea and Space Cluster, and the Gdańsk Space Sciences Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences two years ago. Hybrid ships are built by Crist and Remontowa Shipbuilding. Demand for electric water taxis and buses will grow.
Photos: Zeabuz, Nordic Office of Architecture,  Rederi AB Ballerina, Gdansk University of Technology

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