The electric ship Ellen is to ferries what a supercar is to series production. Yet, the vessel is made for real-life application and now launched on its maiden journey. Full commercial operation will run between the islands of Aerø and Als in southern Denmark.
To recap, the Ellen claims to be the world’s most powerful electric ferry, and indeed, she is the first not to have a backup motor or diesel emergency generator on board. Instead, the boat carries the largest battery pack currently installed on a ship. It comes from Leclanché and packs 4.3 MWh. The battery system uses high-energy G-NMC lithium-ion cells with safety features, including a bi-cellular laminated design and ceramic separators. Leclanché claims it designs and engineers a Class Type Approved and Certified Marine Rack Systems (MRS) including Fire prevention and extinguishing systems.
Power for the Ellen comes from a set of electric motors delivered by Danfoss Editron of Denmark. The system consists of two 750 kW drives and two 250 kW motors for manoeuvring. Danfoss also supplied the ship’s energy management system and the coastal charging station.
After the maiden journey, the service covers a distance of just over 40 kilometres or 22 nautical miles between the ports of Søby and Fynshav on the Danish islands of Ærø and Fynshav. Once fully operational, the Ellen will carry about 200 passengers and 30 cars or five trucks on its decks.
Built at the shipyard in Søby on Als, the Ellen was conceived through a partnership between Ærø Municipality as part of the Danish Natura project, which aims to provide environmentally friendly transport for residents, and the EU. The union initiated the project in 2015 with funding through the Horizon 2020 and Innovation Program. The operators estimate the electric ferry will save an estimated 2,000 tons of CO2 per year in its operation.