Battery technology central to another Polish-built fjord ferry for Norway. Battery technology central to another Polish-built fjord ferry for Norway.

Polish shipbuilding’s role in the modernisation of Norway’s extensive regional ferry fleet has found further expression in the completion of the first of a new class of hybrid-powered double-enders, writes David Tinsley.

Following handover by Remontowa Shipbuilding at Gdansk on June 24, the 114-metre Festoya sailed for Stavanger two days later, to be ready to pick up the schedule on a west coast fjord crossing near Aalesund by mid-July.

During 2018, a series of four newbuilds was ordered by Norled, one of Norway’s largest ferry operators, from the Polish yard.Bergen-domiciled LMG Marin prepared the LMG 120-DEH drive-through ro-ro design, with working documentation drawn up by Remontowa Marine Design & Consulting. Festoya and the second vessel have been tailored for long-term duty on the service linking Festoya and Solavaagen over Storfjord. The subsequent pair has been assigned to the Mannheller/Fodnes route across Sognefjord.

Festoya is equipped with two azimuthing main propulsors of the ‘pulling’ type, one at each end of the symmetrical hull, driven by electric motors energised by two diesel gensets and a Corvus Orca energy storage system.

In regular operation, all power for propulsion and other shipboard consumers will be drawn from the lithium-ion battery packs. Using landside grid energy, rapid recharging will be effected at each end of the route, to ensure that the requisite battery charge level is maintained. Turnarounds on the service can be as short as 11 minutes. The charging process will be activated and terminated in an integrated manner in conjunction with the vacuum-type automatic mooring system.

The intention is that the gensets will primarily act as a back-up to battery propulsion, although the shipboard electrical infrastructure has been prepared to facilitate hybrid operation, as in peak-shaving mode. The genset engines, moreover, have been arranged to run on bio-diesel. The thrusters incorporate vertically-mounted permanent magnet(PM) motors, offering high efficiency across the service profile, even at very low loads. The electrical package was contracted to the Norwegian company Westcon Power & Automation.

Norled’s new fleet entrant features a raft of energy-efficient solutions, including power supply based on frequency converters, full LED lighting, demand-dependent HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems, low-resistance hull design, and weight-optimised construction.

Festoya and the second newbuild have been laid out for 120 cars plus 296 passengers. The two ferries allocated to the shorter Mannheller/Fodnes route have been specified with an approximately 20% smaller battery pack, and a higher passenger intake of 395. The number of lifesaving appliances has accordingly been increased, and an additional marine evacuation system (MES) included to meet regulatory requirements.

Remontowa’s track record in the sector is such that it has to date delivered 24 ro-pax fjord and coastal ferries to the Norwegian market, including 10 LNG-fuelled vessels. A highlight of Norled’s current investment programme is a hydrogen-fuelled double-ender under construction by Westcon in Norway for delivery and deployment next year on a route in Rogaland county.


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