Incat Tasmania to build world’s largest electric ferry yet
The Australian shipbuilder Incat Tasmania announces the production of what it claims is the world’s largest battery-electric ferry. The 130-metre vessel is being built for the South American shipping company Buquebus and will operate between Argentina and Uruguay from 2025.
Incat Hull 096, as the aluminium ship is called, will have the capacity for 2,100 passengers and crew, 225 cars and a duty-free shop covering more than 2,000 square metres. The propulsion system comes from Finnish technology group Wärtsilä, while the batteries with a total capacity of 40 MWh will be sourced from Norwegian energy storage specialist Corvus Energy.
The electric ferry is being built in Australia for use in South America; there is also some European involvement: The propulsion system comes from the Finnish technology group Wärtsilä, and the batteries with a total capacity of 40 MWh are contributed by the Norwegian energy storage specialist Corvus Energy. The energy storage system will be “four times larger than any battery installation that has been constructed and installed anywhere in the world for the marine transport environment”, Incat wrote.
Wärtsila will supply, among other things, its in-house energy management system, eight electric motors and the associated eight Wärtsilä WXJ1100 axial flow water nozzles, including “ProTouch” propulsion controls, according to its own statement. The order was booked in July 2023, with a target delivery date in the second half of 2024 – one year ahead of the vessel’s scheduled delivery. “The eight e-motor waterjet propulsion configuration is the most efficient available on today’s market for this speed range and type application while boasting all the benefits from Wärtsilä’s axial flow waterjet technology – low weight, shallow draft, superb manoeuvrability, and low maintenance,” says Roger Holm, president of Wärtsilä’s Marine Power business.
Although Wärtsilä is supplying the complete propulsion system including energy storage, it has in turn ordered the batteries from Corvus Energy. In addition to the high storage capacity, the Norwegian company says the ship will also be “charged with the highest capacity chargers in the world”. Details of the charging system are not given, however. According to Halvard Hauso, Commercial Director for Europe at Corvus Energy, the new vessel is a “positive indicator of the increasing adoption of maritime electrification”.
As Incat founder Robert Clifford indicates, interest in the battery-electric vessel is very high, and the company is also apparently working on a second, smaller RoPax ferry. “We are already increasing our workforce and have just finalised plans for the recruitment of at least another 200 employees over the next 12 months with the expectation that our workforce will more than double in coming years,” Clifford says.