VIDEO: Solar-electric ferry goes to work in the Baltic

Written by Nick Blenkey
solar-electric ferry

Solar=electric ferry has a 4.3 kWp solar panel insta;;ation on its roof [Photo: Christian Brechels]

This summer, there’s a new way to get to the island of Usedom in the Baltic Sea: a solar-electric ferry. A 14.65-meter-long emission-free vessel is operating several times a day between the village of Kamp and the island, which is part of the popular 350-kilometer Berlin – Usedom cycle route.

solar electric ferry has Torqeedo azimuthing rudder propeller
Torqueedo rudder propeller

The 14.65-meter steel-hulled Antonia vom Kamp is one of the first electrically powered passenger ferries on the Baltic coast. Several times a day, the solar-electric ferry brings up to 20 people and 15 bicycles from the mainland to the island of Usedom – silently and free from local emissions. It is fitted with a 4.3 kWp solar panel installation on the roof and under the hood is a 60 kW Torqeedo Deep Blue electric azimuth thruster. The system is completed by two Deep Blue batteries with a total capacity of 80 kWh.

The boatbuilders, Ostseestaal and Ampereship, estimate that the new solar-electric propulsion system will save twenty tonnes of CO2 every year.

“We can cover our energy needs almost entirely with the photovoltaic system,” says Kay Peters, managing director of Oderhaff Reederei Peters GmbH, the company that operates the new ferry. But the solar-electric Deep Blue system does more than just generate its own energy – it saves, too. “Electric motors… only consume energy when the ship is moving,” Peters says. He explains that a diesel engine would continue to run during passenger loading and unloading, wasting fuel and money. “Here we have no gearbox, no losses, nothing. The ongoing costs in terms of maintenance, oil changes, and spare parts are much lower.”

“When you take a ferry out of operation for maintenance, you’re losing money every minute. Solar-electric ferry vessels and water taxis are more than just clean and green,” says Tommi Salonen, Torqeedo GmbH’s senior vice president sales. “Electric drives like Deep Blue require much less maintenance and insulate their owners from fuel price volatility.”

“With the delivery of the new innovative Usedom ferry, Ostseestaal and Ampereship, as regionally anchored companies, are contributing to bringing e-mobility to the water. In Torqeedo we have found a reliable partner that delivers the entire drive train from a single source. This helps to build the ferry on time and within the budget,” says Ingo Schillinger, business unit manager commercial shipbuilding of Ostseestaal / Ampereship GmbH.

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