The zero-emission ferries could replace diesel versions that burn about a tonne of fuel per crossing
FutureShip GmbH, a subsidiary of Germanischer Lloyd SE (GL), says it has developed a concept for a zero-emissions propulsion system for shipping company Scandlines that could be implemented on ferries operating in the Baltic within five years.
The ferries would run on the 18.5 km "Vogelfluglinie" connecting Puttsgarden on the island of Fehmarn with Rødbyhavn in Denmark.
The plan, based partly on a GL concept published earlier this year, uses surplus electricity from wind turbines in northern Germany and Denmark to produce hydrogen, which is then used in onboard fuel cells to supply the electrical pod drives.
Excess electricity is stored in batteries for peak demand, while optimised hull lines, propeller shapes, and procedures in port reduce total energy needs.
Fridtjof Rohde, principal consultant, FutureShip
Short-sea applications are simply predestined for our zero-emission concept
GL said the project is an ideal way to demonstrate the zero-emissions concept because the ferries have a relatively low energy requirement and can bunker often.
"Short-sea applications are simply predestined for our zero-emission concept," said Fridtjof Rohde, principal consultant for FutureShip.
The double-ended ferry has space for 1,500 passengers and 2,200 lane metres for vehicles, and the hydrogen tanks can accommodate 140 cubic metres, which is enough for a passage of 48 hours.
The fuel cells provide a rated power of 8,300 kilowatts and the storage batteries have a capacity of 2,400 kilowatt-hours.
The emissions-free profile of the ferry offers a contrast to diesel-powered ferries in use now, which burn about a tonne of fuel per crossing and expel about three tonnes of CO2 as well as sulfur and nitrogen oxides.
Last month, GL announced that it had designed a concept for a liquid hydrogen-powered commercial ship that would be completely free of emissions.