Torqeedo and Poseidon announce a commercial-grade electric drive system for ferries with typically up to 200 passengers. Both specialist companies will combine existing components to form the novel zero-emission propulsion powered by BMW batteries.
Torqeedo and Poseidon call their joint development a “fully electric, steerable thruster system designed to provide up to 65 kW of emission-free power and directional thrust ideal for manoeuvring on Europe’s inland waterways.”
For this, the companies integrate a 360° rotating rudder propeller from Poseidon into Torqeedo’s Deep Blue propulsion system, which offers a continuous power of 50 kW and said peak power of 65 kW. Add to this lithium-ion batteries with a battery bank capacity of 80 kWh to 1 MWh by BMWi, Torqeedo’s standard partner. Their batteries meet IEC 62619 and IEC 62620 requirements, while a DNV-GL type-approved battery variant is also available for offshore applications, according to Torqeedo.
The partners estimate that the typical configuration would be two propulsion system for an average vessel with a capacity of 80 to 200 passengers. For larger ships, up to four can be installed.
FS-Schiffstechnik developed the electro-hydraulic steering system in Duisburg, Germany. The new thruster drive adds “unbeatable manoeuvrability” to the companies proven system, which Torqeedo considers a “critical advantage” for inland and urban waterways.
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The first project with the new Deep Blue thruster is already underway, although not exactly inland. Ampereship is building a solar-electric passenger ferry that will travel between the mainland town of Kamp and the island of Usedom in Northern Germany. The close to 15-metre ferry will take up to 20 people and 15 bicycles per trip at a cruising speed of 8 km/h, with a max speed of 14 km/h. The new ferry is scheduled to start operations in August 2021.
Phillip Goethe, Director of Project Sales at Torqeedo, reckons there are plenty of similar routes ripe for electrification. “There are many commercial applications that can be electrified very economically. Our focus is to keep the total cost of ownership low by offering a solution on a system level, including design-in, service, maintenance and remote diagnostics,” he emphasises.
Axel Büchling, manager project sales for Torqeedo, also points to the modular system design, allowing operators to use the same parts and components in different vessels and monitor and service these remotely. “That is a big advantage,” he claims.
This cost-effectiveness of vessels, says Torqeedo, could be further accomplished with Deep Blue because speeds are often limited in inner-city waterways. Besides, the vessels are typically in use for 8-14 hours per day. Not only does this leave plenty of time for overnight charging, but it also reduces infrastructure and battery costs.
The system is available as of now with services provided by Deutz. Poseidon builds the azimuth thruster in-house in the Netherlands.