Ontario has ordered its first fully electric ferries and asked shipbuilder Damen to come up with a design capable of operating in the often icy waters of Canada’s Great Lakes. Onboard batteries include a generator while plugs are heated on shore.
Still the vessels will be fully electric. Both ferries have been designed to sail in 60 cm thick ice and to be fully operational at -25ºC to withstand Canada’s harsh winter conditions. Two models are planned, one at 68 m with capacity for 40 cars and a 98 m ship with capacity for 75 cars.
Damen Shipyards Group plans to use generators to charge the batteries in case of heavy ice conditions over the route, while the onboard battery bank will be selected to achieve 10 years operation of approximately 160,000 crossings, while both vessels have approx. 21 hours operation at 365 days.
For both the ships as well as the charging infrastructure, reliability is the priority and the DC charging station will use protected and heated charging plugs at shore. The charging stations on land will have extra energy storage in order to not overload the grid. Said shore batteries will be charged in 50 minutes via the grid and together with the grid power will charge the batteries on board in 10 minutes.
The two ice class electric ferris will be servicing Kingston and Wolfe Island and Millhaven and Amherst Island.