Damen picks Leclanché solution for Ontario e-ferry charging

Written by Nick Blenkey
Two ferries at shipyard

Seen here at the shipyard, the two e-ferries are now on their way to Canada.

The two Damen electric ferries now on the way to Canada on a heavy lift ship (see earlier story) will be the first vessels to make use of a new “ports and harbor” infrastructure solution developed by Switzerland-based Leclanché (SIX: LECN) to enable hybrid and fully electric vessels to fast charge when returning to port.

Damen has selected Leclanché to construct and provide two fast charge stations, and supporting electrical storage systems on Lake Ontario. The agreement with Leclanché’s Stationary Solutions group provides the complete recharging infrastructure.

The two electric ferries have been built for the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario. Both are powered by Leclanché’s Marine Rack System (MRS), certified by Bureau Veritas, under prior contracts with Leclanché’s e-Marine group.

The Amherst Islander II (Damen 6819 E3) is fully electric with a 1.9 MWh capacity Leclanché Battery system and produces zero emissions. It will carry up to 42 cars and 300 passengers at speeds of up to 12 knots and connect the mainland port city of Millhaven, Ontario with Stella on Amherst Island.

The Wolfe Islander IV (Damen 9819 E3), a larger e-ferry, will provide service between Kingston, on the mainland, and Wolfe Island. It features a 4.6 MWh Leclanché battery system and can carry twice the number of passenger vehicles as the Amherst Islander– 83 – plus 399 passengers. It, too, produces zero emissions and will sail at up to 12 knots.

“Damen’s broad range of ultra-modern ferries operate all over the world and we’re proud to have partnered with Leclanché to build two state-of-the-art all electric ferries which are a first of its kind for North America and a breakthrough in sustainability,” said Leo Postma, sales director, Americas, Damen. “This partnership is consistent with our goal of being the world’s most sustainable shipbuilder. Extending our partnership for the on-shore fast charge and electrical storage systems is a natural outgrowth of our business relationship and consistent with our pioneering role in the maritime energy transition. It also provides many benefits to Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation.”

Leclanché says that its in-house capability to provide both the battery energy storage system to power maritime vessels and the on-land charging and storage system, powered by the grid or increasingly cost-effective renewable sources of energy, sets it apart from other providers.

“I would like to thank Damen for trusting Leclanché with this innovative project. We’ve all observed the growing pains of the global electric automotive industry and the barriers to mass adoption caused by the lack of public and universal recharging infrastructure,” said Anil Srivastava, CEO, Leclanché. “You can’t have eFerries or electric trains, buses, trucks or other modes of transportation displace fossil-fueled modes of transportation without a reliable, cost-effective and energy efficient infrastructure in place. Our new zero emission ports and harbors solution architecture will make it easier for ship designers and port authorities to design, build and welcome to their shores the latest generation of sustainable vessels”.


“For those portside regions unable to install a fixed energy storage system on shore, we are already considering a mobile charging station option – essentially a floating e-Barge with a fast-charge storage system onboard – that will enable a ferry to power-up in port without burdening the local infrastructure,” Srivastava added.

The Ontario ports and harbor systems will be equipped with a 3.0 MWh Leclanché battery energy storage system (BESS) located in port-side structures (one each in Millhaven and Stella). The BESS, which will be charged by the harbor grid, is connected to the ferry charger via 1,800 kW DC-DC converters. These “buffer stations” will be protected by the industry’s highest safety standard fire suppression system using piped in water running alongside the battery racks and behind each battery module. The backs of each module have an opening allowing water spray to enter in the event of any thermal events.

Crossing time between ports will be just 20 minutes and Leclanché’s high power, DC-to-DC fast charging system will enable the eFerries to “refuel” in just 10 minutes at each port – well within the time it takes for the vessel to discharge passengers and vehicles and reload.

The batteries have been designed to charge each vessel up to 7,850 times per year or more than 78,500 times over their projected 10-year lifespan – ensuring 21 hours of duty daily regardless of weather.

Find more information on the project in the Leclanché case study

Categories: Ferries, News Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,