- The e-ferry Ellen, the world’s most powerful fully-electric ferry, has received a positive final review from the EU in a recent report after nearly two years of successful operation. Danfoss Editron provided the fully-electric drivetrain for the ferry, with the battery system developed and delivered by Leclanché.
According to the report, the project has delivered exceptional results. It shows significant impacts on science and technology, the environment and society. The reports also states that the ferry is a true zero-emission solution that enables it to reduce greenhouse gases by 100% compared to any existing technology for marine transport.
Covering a 22-nautical mile crossing between the Danish islands of Ærø and Fynshav, Ellen is just under 60m long, has a width of approximately 13m and travels at speeds between 13-15.5 knots. The ferry can carry 198 passengers in the summer, with this capacity dropping to 147 during the winter. It can also hold 31 cars or five trucks on its open deck.
In 2015, the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program agreed to support the project. Ellen formally entered service at the beginning of July 2019. Now, the EU has completed a final review of the ferry’s performance. The EU has found that Ellen has delivered exceptional results, with significant immediate and potential long-term impacts. These include applying an extremely energy-efficient design concept and demonstrating that a fully-electric, emission-free, medium-sized ferry for passengers, vehicles and cargo can operate successfully on longer distances than previously seen in the maritime industry.
Leclanché’s battery system uses high-energy G-NMC lithium-ion cells with unique safety features, including a bi-cellular laminated design and ceramic separators. The safety structure also includes a fire suppression system offering protection against all unexpected external hazards (electrical, mechanical and thermal). At 4.3MWh, Ellen’s battery pack was the largest for maritime use at the time of installation. Additionally, Ellen is the first fully-electric ferry to have no emergency back-up generator on-board.
According to Leclanché’s project lead, Mika Lehmusto, “Ellen provides a critical proof point of how far maritime electrification has progressed. In fact, she illustrates that a fully electric-powered ferry is the least expensive operating solution, thanks to extreme high energy efficiency, low energy consumption and low maintenance costs, compared to modern diesel-powered ferries and especially older, traditional diesel vessels. We are already working with a range of next-generation vessels, leveraging breakthroughs we developed for Ellen, that will help propel the maritime industry towards its ambitious carbon-free goals for 2030.”