Emissions-Free Ferries Go Into Service

Vessels were converted from diesel power

Battery power on board the Tycho Brache.

The largest emissions-free ferries in the world have been put into service after guests boarded the Tycho Brahe in Helsingborg, Sweden for a ceremony marking the completion of an all-electric conversion.

The vessels were converted from conventional diesel engine operations to battery power at Öresund Dry Docks, as part of ForSea’s strategy to reduce the environmental footprint along the 4 km route between Sweden and Denmark. The vessels operate on a high-intensity ferry route that transfers over 7.4 million passengers and 1.9 million vehicles between urban port terminals in Denmark and Sweden.

The battery-powered Aurora.

The conversion of the Tycho Brahe and the Aurora over 100-meter ferries, both built in 1991, required the installation of a 4160 kWh battery on each vessel, as well as battery racks, energy storage control systems and ABB’s Onboard DC Grid power distribution technology.

“We are delighted that the entire system is in place to support the emissions-free operations we envisaged from the outset,” said Johan Röstin, CEO, ForSea. “This is a truly groundbreaking project and the work we have done with ABB will offer invaluable lessons for those following our lead. In shipping, innovation takes time and patience, and we always kept sight of the environmental benefits at stake.”

“This project signals a profound shift for the maritime industry, and shows a path towards zero-emission operations, aligned with International Maritime Organization’s goals for decarbonization,” said Marcus Högblom, head of Passenger, Dry Cargo and Ice Segment, ABB Marine & Ports. “We congratulate ForSea on the inauguration of these vessels, and we are proud to have worked closely with them to deliver this pioneering solution.”

Additionally, ABB supplied automated shore-side charging stations using an industrial robot to optimize the connection time and maximize the charging period, leveraging 3D laser scanning and wireless communication between ship and shore.

“This is a landmark project, and we are convinced it will come to be seen as a critical step in shipping’s environmental revolution, as well as a milestone in rolling out ABB’s ‘Electric, Digital, Connected’ strategy for shipping,” said Marcus Högblom, ABB Marine & Ports.

INEA, the European Union’s executive agency for innovation and network, has supported the project.

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