Australian shipbuilder Incat Tasmania looks set to jump start its electric ambitions. It is in discussions with long time customer Buquebús that could see the 130 meter ferry currently under construction at the shipyard for the South American operator delivered as the world’s first large, lightweight, zero emissions ferry.
Originally intended to be powered by LNG, the vessel will be the world’s largest aluminum-hulled ship and will carry 2,100 passengers and 226 vehicles. Now, following close consultation with the customer, Incat is to investigate the possibility of replacing the LNG power plant with a battery-electric solution.
While there are challenges to overcome, says Incat, the ship, which is to be delivered in 2025, when battery electric would be the world’s largest, lightweight, zero emissions ferry operating on any route in the world.
“The customer wants this to happen, Incat wants this to happen, and while there are matters to be finalized, I am extremely confident that Incat can deliver this ground-breaking ship,” said Incat group chairman and founder Robert Clifford. “In my experience unless we see something come in from left field, this is a done deal.”
“Obviously, there needs to be sufficient energy supply in the ports that the ship would visit but we understand that this is progressing positively,” continued Clifford. “The batteries and electric motors are being worked through with our suppliers, to ensure they can deliver the technology required in the timeframe we need them. Zero emissions shipping is the future and Incat based in Tasmania, one of the few places on the planet which has already delivered net zero, is now poised to revolutionize the world’s shipping fleet by delivering the world’s first zero emissions, lightweight ship.”
“While there are always challenges if you change any aspect of the design of a ship part way through build, in simple terms, this is just swapping one method of propulsion for another,” said Incat managing director Craig Clifford “It will however have significant environmental benefits, and open up a whole new market for these types of vessels.”