Marine

World's largest all-electric ferry completes maiden voyage

Ellen will go into service at the beginning of September
Ellen will go into service at the beginning of September
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Ellen will go into service at the beginning of September
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Ellen will go into service at the beginning of September

We've seen a few all-electric ferries quietly and cleanly moving people, cars and goods between ports in northern Europe, but Ellen is reported to be the world's largest. It made its first commercial trip earlier this month between two Danish islands.

The battery-electric ferry has taken over from the diesel-powered MF Skjoldnæs to carry passengers and vehicles between Søby on Ærø island and Fynshav on Als island. Named Ellen, the electric ferry made its inaugural voyage on August 15 before she goes into service in the beginning of September. MF Skjoldnæs is not being retired, but will take on another route.

Ellen has 59.5 x 12.8 m (195 x 42 ft) dimensions and a draft of 2.5 m (8.2 ft). Her hull arrived from Poland in 2017 and has since been fitted out with electric motors from Finland's Visedo and a 4.3-MWh Li-ion battery pack from Swiss company Leclanché SA. She can sail up to 22 nautical miles, get up to 15.5 knots, carry about 30 vehicles and 200 passengers, and is expected to make up to seven return trips per day when she goes into service proper.

"Over one year, it will prevent the release of 2,000 tonnes of CO2, 42 tonnes of NOX, 2.5 tonnes of particulates and 1.4 tonnes of SO2 into the atmosphere," said Leclanché's CEO Anil Srivastava. "This project demonstrates that today we can replace fossil fuel thermal drives with clean energy, and thus contribute to the fight against global warming and pollution for the well-being of our communities."

Sources: e-Ferry, Leclanché SA

11 comments
BrianK56
This is a very impressive start that is sure to only get better as battery technology progresses.
Michael Kaczmarek
So I guess this tub charges itself. Or does it have it’s own wind farm? Fantastic. It can go 22 nautical miles and then you get a diesel powered tug to tow it back? 22, is that it?
anthony88
Does this travel from A to B or from AC to DC?
Observer101
How long does it take to recharge the battery, and how much electricity is required? Doesn't the generation of that electricity create pollution?
Malcolm Jacks
The us navy has been using nuclear powered submarines and aircraft cariers for a decade now, and they can go months without fueling, why havent the civil market using the same technologies, its even more carbon neutral. Batteries have to be recharged and have a limited shelf life.
Carolyn Roberts
Nice! Let's hope this is one of a series that will gradually replace fossil fuel powered ferries.
Alex Krikke
So, what’s the range between charges, how is it changed up, what energy is being used for that purpose?
ttraderjim
Ok so "Over one year, it will prevent the release of 2,000 tonnes of CO2, 42 tonnes of NOX, 2.5 tonnes of particulates and 1.4 tonnes of SO2 into the atmosphere," But where is the electricity being generated? Could be dirty coal for all we know. Nuclear is clean, we should be using it more IMHO.
DuffyN
Great news!
Knut Flottorp
@michael Kazmarek: With about a mile across, 22 nm should do just fine. @anthony88 you use DC for rapid charging and producing the electricity can pollute like in the US, but in Denmark, they produce from wind and can receive additional from the Norwegian mountains (hydroelectricity). They also use LNG - gas. @Malcolm Jacks: the submarines use lead-acid batteries, chemical monsters or are nuclear. But novel Lithium batteries are "solid-state" and hold much more, and there is no chemical reaction in the batteries. The electrons do not get lost, and solid-state has a highly predictable "loss". @ttraderjim there has never been many coal mines in Denmark, and using coal to produce electricity is the US way. In other countries, there are cheaper ways, like wind turbines and solar cells combined with supplies of LNG (liquid natural gas) that burns and produce some CO2. Nuclear plants produce highly radioactive isotopes that we do not know how to get rid of and may end up having to launch the leftover into space the moment we can launch safe enough rockets. I would not live on a nuclear waste dump and for very good reasons, so nuclear is far from safe.