September 12, 2019

Zero-Emission Ferries: The Norwegian Government Challenges

Last week, Ferry Shipping News sailed onboard Norwegian ferry GISKØY, together with Svein Ove Farstad, General Manager Sales & Marketing, Norwegian Electric Systems.
This double-ended ferry was delivered to Fjord1 in the beginning of the year. GISKØY is identical to two other ferries. They will be operating fully electric once the two ferry ports are ready in 2021. Presently they are sailing in a hybrid-electric mode

Svein Ove Farstad (photo) explains how his company entered the ferry business: “Three years ago, Norwegian Electric Systems saw a market opportunity when the offshore business was down. We were involved in Norwegian ferry projects. The Norwegian Government gave a lot of incentives to build environmental-friendly. Zero emission is the goal. They challenged us and other companies, and asked, “can you be ready in two years?”. We said yes.”

The hardware is pretty much the same,” says Svein Ove Farstad. “The difference lays within the software and the integration. For 20-30 years we have been working with shaft generators or gensets, and a switchboard. Now we have a battery system we want to see working in the same way, as a generator. But it doesn’t behave the same way. How do we get all the systems to talk the same language?”

“We needed to learn and interact with a lot of designers and shipowners and to understand very fast what were the requirements. Then we needed to quote. We wanted to bring the standards of the offshore industry in the ferry world.”

“Because of the time pressure of the Government there was no time for R&D in the offices. We needed to install on the ferries and do the development onboard. Each ship is different, with a unique combination of batteries and generators, different routes etc. Each vessel needs a different approach. We learned a lot and I hope it is going to give us a commercial advantage when we start to export our technologic knowledge.”

The Type 936 ferries are designed by Havyard. The hulls were assembled at the Cemre shipyard in Turkey before being towed to Norway for completion.

Click on the photo for technical details.