In February 2011 the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Keith Brown confirmed Scottish Government funding to Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) for the Low Emission Hybrid Ferries Project, which will see the development of the world’s first sea going Roll On Roll Off vehicle and passenger diesel electric hybrid ferries in Scotland.
Ferguson Shipbuilders, Port Glasgow, Scotland are now working alongside Glasgow based ship design specialists Seatec and electrical specialists Tec-Source EECS to build two hybrid ferries.
The ferries, which will be operated by the current operator of the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services, CalMac, are designed for use on many of the short crossing routes around the Clyde and Hebrides and will use some of the most innovative new ‘green’ technology, including battery banks supplying a minimum of 20% of the energy consumed on board.
Each ferry will be designed to accommodate 150 passengers, 23 cars or 2 HGVs, with a service speed of nine knots and will be powered by small diesel generator sets, feeding power to a 400 volt switchboard, which will supply power to electric propulsion motors that turn the propulsion units. In addition 2 lithium-ion battery banks with a total of 700kWh will also be able supply power to the units reducing fuel and CO2 consumption by at least 20%. The battery banks will be charged overnight from the mains.
The vessel design and power configuration will additionally realise 19-24% savings of power input to the propulsion units over a conventional diesel mechanical solution reducing Carbon Dioxide, Sulphur Oxide and Nitrous Oxide emissions.
CMAL are also looking at the possibility of using energy from local wind, wave or solar systems to charge the batteries, making the process even more environmentally friendly.
The project will provide a fantastic commercial opportunity for Scotland and show how, as a nation, we are leading the way in innovative ferry design.
The first vessel is anticipated to enter service in Spring 2013.