It will accommodate 2,100 passengers and 226 vehicles and was supposed to be powered by liquefied natural gas. But now it looks like it will be batteries for the whole penny instead – and thus Incat’s electric ferry will be one of the world’s largest.
The Australian shipyard Incat Tasmania is currently building a 130 meter long vessel that was initially intended to be powered by liquefied natural gas, LNG. But after discussions with the buyer Buquebus, a South American shipping company, it is now leaning towards the ferry being equipped with batteries instead.
When it is delivered in 2025, it will be in that case the world’s largest zero-emission lightweight ferry, according to Incat. The hull is catamaran-shaped and is built in aluminium. The ferry will operate a route between Argentina and Uruguay. The switch to batteries is made for environmental reasons.
The batteries do indeed weigh 400 tonnes. On the other hand, 500 tons of equipment belonging to the LNG drive line can be removed, reports Electrek. However, it is not clear what energy storage capacity the batteries have.
100 nautical miles
A decision on whether the ferry will really become electric has not yet been made. The ferry’s range will be up to 100 nautical miles, corresponding to 185 km. With LNG operation, the top speed was stated as 40 knots, but with battery operation it is instead 25 knots.
– The customer wants this to go away, Incat wants it to go away. There are still issues to be resolved but I am extremely confident that Incat can deliver this ground-breaking vessel, said Robert Clifford, chairman and founder of Incat Group, in a statement.
The world’s largest electric ships were previously the 111 meter long Aurora and Tycho Brahe in Öresund. But the first place will be taken from 2021 by the 143-meter-long Norwegian Bastø Electric, which operates Moss-Horten in the Oslofjord.
Which ferry is the biggest?
Depending on what you mean by largest – length, weight or volume – the order is slightly different.
Bastø Electric has a gross tonnage (unitless comparative figure based on the ship’s total contained volume, in English: gross tonnage) of 7,911. When signing the contract for the LNG variant of Incat’s ferry, the gross tonnage was stated as “probably” 13,000, which would mean that it will be significantly larger than Bastø Electric. Tycho Brahe’s gross gestation is 11,148.