Hampshire based Wightlink has taken receipt of a new ferry “Victoria of Wight” – and she runs on a battery hybrid system.
The ferry operator’s project director (Mr. John Burrows) explained why this choice was preferable to going fully electric or using LNG.
“We initially hoped to run on LNG, but it is a bit of a chicken and egg product,” explained Mr Burrows. Wightlink had been hoping that one of the ports it was using would provide bunker facilities, but this did not materialise. Wightlink itself was not going to use enough LNG to make it worthwhile investing in its own bunker facilities and therefore the company decided upon a diesel/battery hybrid system.
Mr Burrows said “We are very lucky to live in one of most beautiful parts of the UK; we have a green agenda and are also very mindful that we operate very close to residential property. We were looking for a solution to minimise fuel consumption and that equals lower emissions, less pollution and a propulsion package that is significantly quieter than other ships.” Using batteries ticked these boxes.
In Victoria of Wight, batteries provide a support service to the diesel generators in operation and work as generators in harbour mode. The batteries are charged from the diesel generators. Four 1,100 kW engines have provided by Wärtsilä.
Mr Burrows added: “The beauty of it is that any engine can drive any propeller, so if we take an engine out to do maintenance, all four propellers are still running.”
Sea trials showed “Victoria of Wight” could run on batteries alone for 50 minutes, although Mr Burrows said there were no plans to run the vessel solely on batteries.
Indeed, he indicated that if the company were to order another new vessel, it would also be powered by battery dual-fuel: “Batteries have not moved on quite enough to go all-electric, and we also need the power available on shore. But Portsmouth does not have huge reserves of power and the amount that we can pull from the shore is limited.”
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