The Uruguayan shipping company Buquebus has commissioned the Australian company Incat Tasmania to build the world’s largest battery-powered ferry. It will be 130 meters long and will be able to hold 2,100 passengers and 225 cars. There is also a 2,000 square meter duty-free shop. The ferry will operate on the Rio de la Plata, where Montevideo and Buenos Aires, the capitals of Uruguay and Argentina, are located.
Battery storage of 40 MWh is planned for the catamaran-like ship called Incat Hull 096. The energy storage device, which is being manufactured by Norwegian company Corvus Energy, will be four times larger than any other device previously installed in electric shipping, writes Incat Tasmania. The batteries are designed to power eight electric motors, which in turn will power a waterjet propulsion system. This system is built by the Finnish company Wärtsilä.
Lighter than conventional ships
The ship will be built of aluminum, which will increase the storage range, Incat said. The company did not provide any further details. The planned ship will ultimately be half the weight of a comparable one made of conventional steel. Corvus Energy plans to deliver the battery system by the end of 2024, with the ship expected to be operational in 2025. The Norwegian Bastø Electric, which can transport 600 passengers and 200 cars, is the largest all-electric ferry to date.
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This is what it could look like when the ship with its two floating bodies is operating on the Rio de la Plata.
The global shipping industry emits a good one billion tons of greenhouse gases every year, about 3 percent of the world’s total emissions. At the beginning of July 2023, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) of the United Nations agreed on the goal of reducing these emissions to zero by 2050. In addition to new fuels that are intended to replace the previous fossil fuels, electric drives are also possible, for example in hybrid systems. Wärtsilä supplies battery packs that can be integrated into conventional drives. The Danish logistics group Møller-Maersk envisions such hybrid or purely battery-powered ships being able to draw electricity from charging buoys at sea.
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