Icelands To Get Its First Electric Ferry This Year

Swiss-Swedish multinational company ABB will power Iceland’s first Electric ferry which will make a splash by the end of the year.

Iceland’s first electric ferry is due to hit the Icelandic waters before the end of 2019. The 70-metre vessel will be equipped with a 3,000kWh battery pack provided by technology giant ABB and will work to carry a total of 550 passengers and 75 cars back and forth between Landeyjahöfn on the mainland and the Westman Island, covering 13 kilometres in about 45 minutes.

The new ferry will take 3,600 annual trips in the rough waters, the water vessel is in line with its plan to promote electric modes of transportation. 80 percent of Icekilometersrgy comes from non-fossil resources, led by hydropower and geothermal energy, the newbuilt vessel will be well positioned to support Iceland’s sustainability goals.

“Opting for ABB’s electric solutions allows the vessel to meet design constraints that initially seem in conflict: it is optimized for cleaner operation and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, whilst power is sufficient to navigate some very hazardous waters safely,” said Sigurdur Gretarsson, Director of Maritime Division, Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration.

The supporting infrastructure shoreside will recharge the battery with a power of 2500kW while the ferry is in the dock. On average, it will take about 30 short minutes to recharge.

Juha Koskela, Managing Director, ABB Marine & Ports added, “In line with our vision for electric, digital and connected shipping, this project demonstrates how system integration – whether on board the ship or between the ship’s crew and shoreside expertise – is a key success factor for vessel management.”

The new ferry will not only reduce the environmental impact, but also improve the regularity of the connection. The new ferry will be able to enter the destination harbor in challenging weather conditions most of the time, with the rare exception of particularly rough seas for which an onboard diesel generator will serve as a backup for use in particularly difficult weather conditions.

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Iceland is one of the only countries in the world which obtains 100% of its electricity and heat from renewable sources. 87% of its electricity comes from hydro-power, and the remaining 13% from geothermal power. Ironically Iceland also has one of the highest per head greenhouse gas emissions in Europe as imported oil is used to power Iceland’s fishing fleet, cars and buses and other heavy industries.

The Icelandic Government in 2018 announced a new Climate Strategy, intended to boost efforts in cutting net emissions. The new measures are put in place to help Iceland meet its Paris Agreement targets for 2030 and reach the government‘s ambitious aim to make Iceland carbon neutral before 2040.

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