Construction of all-electric fast ferry commences in Norway

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Partners in the Norwegian TrAM (Transport – Advanced and Modular) project have announced that construction has commenced on what is claimed to be the world’s first fully electric passenger fast ferry, with work underway at the Fjellstrand shipyard on the west coast of Norway.

Equipped to carry around 150 passengers, the catamaran will be 31m long with a 9m beam. It is to be equipped with two electric motors and a 1.5MWh capacity battery with charging power of more than 2MW. The project coordinators state that this will be the world’s first fully electric and zero-emission fast ferry, classed in accordance with the International Code of Safety for High-Speed Crafts (HSC Code).

As the TrAM project’s demonstrator vessel, it will begin a trial passenger service between the city of Stavanger and surrounding communities and islands in spring 2022, in order to test and validate the project findings. The vessel has been designed for a service speed of 23kts and has been named Medstraum (Norwegian for ‘with electricity’).

The TrAM project was initiated by industry cluster organization NCE Maritime CleanTech and is being coordinated by Kolumbus, the independent mobility services arm of Rogaland County Council. “TrAM’s overall aim is to develop new modular methods for the design and production of zero-emission fast ferries for inshore passenger transport, in order to reduce investment costs and delivery time,” said project manager Mikal Dahle of Kolumbus.

The project partners say they have worked to optimize the design of the Medstraum and particularly the hydrodynamic performance of the hull. Both the hull and superstructure will be built in aluminum, which, in addition to being low weight for lower energy consumption, contributes to the circular economy as it is easy to recycle.

TrAM is also drawing on partner Fraunhofer IEM’s experiences in modular production techniques from the car and aviation industries. Using advanced modularization, the project aims to lower production costs and engineering hours for electric fast ferries by 25% and 70%, respectively, which will significantly enhance their competitiveness.

The modular architecture will enable individual modules to be combined so that subsequent vessels can be quickly adapted to specific customer requirements. Reusing modules also enables faster development and production.

“Increased automation, more efficient use of materials, shorter construction time and lower labor costs together represent a new chapter in shipbuilding while increasing the competitiveness of all stakeholders,” added Dahle.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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