ABB electric solutions picked for 10 Lisbon river ferries

Written by Nick Blenkey
Rendering of ferry

All-electric ferries will have a service speed of 16 knots and a maximum speed of 17 knots

ABB is to supply the all-electric power solution for ten 40-meter, 540-passenger ferries being built by Spanish shipbuilder Astilleros Gondán under a EUR 52.4 million (about $62.5 million) contract from Portuguese public ferry company Transtejo, S.A .

They will operate across Lisbon’s Tagus river and will replace the existing fleet serving this route when they enter service between 2022 and 2024.

In addition to energy storage systems, ABB will deliver a fully integrated electric power solution and an integrated marine and propulsion automation system. The fleet renewal project represents a significant commitment by Lisbon metropolitan planners to accelerate the introduction of emissions-free public transport solutions.

Increased electrification of transportation, including inland waterway transport, will play a key role in helping Portugal achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. According to the Portugal’s 2050 Carbon Neutrality Roadmap, the transport sector aims to achieve a 98 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 2005, by strengthening the role of the public transport system and replacing current fossil fuel modes of transportation with a mainly electric fleet.

ABB estimates that replacing the ten ferries operating on the Tagus river from diesel power to an all-electric integrated power solution will eliminate about 6,500 tons in CO2 emissions every year.

“Cutting greenhouse gas emissions are top priorities in urban planning. Today, the technologies chosen for fast ferries operating so close to the heart of the city must be clean and green, as well as proven in terms of safety and reliability,” said Antonio Pacheco, Director of GRP Division, Astilleros Gondán. “ABB has been selected both on the grounds of energy efficiency and its extensive experience in delivering all-electric and hybrid propulsion solutions to the ferry market.”

“Operators serving inland waters have been among the pioneers of zero-emission propulsion, and we are truly honored that ABB’s technology will support the sustainability goals of one of Europe’s great capitals,” said Juha Koskela, Division President, ABB Marine & Ports. “This project is another important industry milestone for zero-emission propulsion, showing that proven technology is available today to serve future needs on sustainable fast passenger ferry transport.”

The new ferries will be powered by battery packs with a total capacity of 1,860-kWh each. ABB’s initial contract covers the fully integrated electric power solution and an integrated marine and propulsion automation system for all ten ferries and the battery pack for the debut vessel of the series. ABB’s Onboard DC Grid power distribution system will ensure that the battery output is delivered to the ferry’s subsystems in the most optimal way, as well as enabling safe integration and reliable operation of other propulsion system components. The overall power setup will be controlled by ABB’s Power and Energy Management System (PEMS), which will also increase fault tolerance and provide a high degree of reliability while ensuring the maximum lifetime for the batteries.

The ferries will operate on three key routes linking Lisbon to Cacilhas, Seixal and Montijo on the south bank of the Tagus river. They will have a service speed of 16 knots and a maximum speed of 17 knots.

Data from the Maritime Battery Forum indicates that over 130 battery-powered ferries are already in operation, and 90 more are on order. In line with its strong presence in vessel electrification, ABB has announced all-electric ferry projects with P&O Ferries, Washington State Ferries and Busan Port Authority in South Korea within the last nine months.

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