Electric ferries - why not?

Discussion of the 'Switched on Scotland' and 'e-cosse' program in Scotland
Neil-K
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Location: Orkney

Re: Electric ferries - why not?

Postby Neil-K » Mon Dec 12, 2016 4:36 pm

I'm not volunteering, but I have done a bit of digging......

Some Norwegian work was done recently that concluded that short frequent crossings are most suitable for batteries. The MV Hallaig was the first battery/diesel ferry in Scotland and it does the 25minute Rassay/Skye route. It does 20 crossings a day, but only has a 5 min quayside interval between them, so charging time is limited to over-night.

Calmac's site has the usual confusion about batteries in that it says:
Hallaig is equipped with a hybrid diesel electric propulsion system comprising two 16R5 EC/90-1 Voith Schneider Propellers (VSP) providing a total power of 750kW and two lithium ion batteries. The propellers are comprised of five blades each with rated power of 375kW. The propulsion system also includes a 2X350kW battery pack which can be charged overnight. The total weight of the system is 7,000kg.

Asuming they mean 2x 350kWh batteries it would mean they have about 1 hr of battery power..... at full chat

I have it in the back of my mind that one of the advantages is that they can run the diesels at optimum output so meaning they also recharge the batteries whilst there is spare power from the diesels.

So basically there is a sweet spot with ferries that combines the frequency of short routes, but which are not too long and have sufficient time to charge between crossings. Unfortunately most short crossings are very frequent, whereas the longer ones (which are harder to do with batteries) are often the ones with longest time at the piers..... The advantage of using batteries in ferries is of course that the weight is pretty unimportant (unless you are going for a fast/planing hull)

Finally; we looked at ferries in Orkney for batteries. We're presently more inclined to go for hydrogen or indeed hydrogen derived fuels such as ammonia. Watch this (and other) spaces.....

ScotstounPele
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Re: Electric ferries - why not?

Postby ScotstounPele » Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:19 pm

Thanks Neil. Presumably the reason that it is not widely known that CalMac has a small number of hybrid electric/diesel ferries is that they can only run on battery power for about an hour a day after charging overnight, plus maybe they offer backup in the event that the diesel engine fails.

As you say Neil, a quick glance at even Calmac's short hop winter timetables (never mind the summer ones) shows that there are very few routes where the ferry sits still for long, except perhaps for an hour or so at lunch time.

If Tesla/Chademo/CCS technology could be adapted to power, say, two 350kwh batteries simultaneously at a charge rate of 200kw or more, then fully electric ferries might just be viable on some routes.

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Scally
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Re: Electric ferries - why not?

Postby Scally » Tue Dec 13, 2016 11:04 am

I would have thought the passenger ferry to Easdale Island from Seil would be a good starter: thats only about 350 yards each way, takes a couple of minutes, and leaves plenty of time for a top up! (Of course there is political pressure for a causeway, but so far the islanders have resisted this resolutely, preferring their insular status).
Actually I'd also love to see an electric plane on the Westray and Papa Westray route: separated by a distance of only 1.7 miles. Operated by Loganair, the flight duration is officially two minutes, but under ideal wind condition can be completed in only 47 seconds.
Starting small is the best way to prove that electric works best.

ScotstounPele
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Re: Electric ferries - why not?

Postby ScotstounPele » Tue Dec 13, 2016 1:49 pm

You are probably right, Scally, that starting small will be the only way to effect change. Another good example might be the Renfrew ferry.

The trouble with many short hop ro-ro ferries (including Renfrew) is that you couldn't sit a rapid charger on the slipway otherwise it would spend half the day below the tide! You'd have to engineer a rapid charge infrastructure on the pier that could withstand high and low tide with a cable that was long enough to reach the boat at all tides. Not impossible but it would take effort.

So our wish list is:
* a short crossing, to prove the viability of the technology.
* at least, say, 30-45 mins stop time between journeys, to allow recharging.
* a charge point that is not going to be underwater during high tide.

I suspect that electric aeroplanes would come unstuck due to the weight of the battery, but it would be nice to be proved wrong.

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Scally
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Re: Electric ferries - why not?

Postby Scally » Tue Dec 13, 2016 4:49 pm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_aircraft
Yes, currently, flying manned electric aircraft are mostly experimental demonstrators, though many small unmanned aerial vehicles are powered by batteries. Electrically powered model aircraft have been flown since the 1970s, with one report in 1957.[2][3] The first man-carrying electrically powered flights were made in 1973

JohnMcD
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Re: Electric ferries - why not?

Postby JohnMcD » Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:41 pm

I'd also like to see the longer sailings offer charging points on board. Parking the car for an hour or more on a boat would be a great opportunity to charge.

noahs-dad
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Re: Electric ferries - why not?

Postby noahs-dad » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:06 am

I can take up that "why not?" argument here. If all we are going to end up is the odd half-way house solution (hybrid) bus or ferry for god knows how many cajillions of £££'s then we should just forget it. We all know Norway and many other countries are many years ahead of us. Norway will soon launch a new 100% elec. ferry - http://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2017 ... ords-.html - But Norway is an independent country, and well we aren't and truth be told a devolved parliament does not really change our overall UK financial structure or limitations. Resources are simply scant.

Chargers on board electric ferries is a nice thought and very practical I agree. However, we live in a country where the vast majority of shopping centres, supermarkets or retail parks don't even have a T2 charger. Tourist attraction destinations with a T2 are still rare.

We can just forget about being Norway while we are affiliated to the UK. Maybe if we go independent one day we can start to dream of what can be. For now it is all what might be. It is all political isn't it, the current UK government is simply not serious about electric cars, and electric driving is being held back because of that. Best surely to just focus on elec. cars when Scotland is already up against it, but still managing to do a reasonable job none the less, considering all the constraints.

If our Scottish Government start messing around with hybrid buses in more large scale fashion or hybrid ferry projects, in the overall picture of our setup, it would be a waste of resources. Pure Elec. ferries is a bit like home wind turbines. Do'able and quite fanciable (there has always been a romance about the idea and dream of domestic turbine(s) for me, to add to our home renewables). But ferries or domestic turbines are currently not really a practical or sensible use of resources.

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Scally
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Re: Electric ferries - why not?

Postby Scally » Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:28 pm

Heres a link to that interesting report: http://www.localenergyscotland.org/medi ... -Final.pdf
The concept of pure plug-in ferries is probably restricted at present to those on inland waterways or inter-island in sheltered locations with low tidal range. I could see an electric passenger launch service working quite well along the Clyde, on the F&C canal, or across Loch Lomond, for example.

ScotstounPele
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Re: Electric ferries - why not?

Postby ScotstounPele » Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:48 am

Scally wrote:The concept of pure plug-in ferries is probably restricted at present to those on inland waterways or inter-island in sheltered locations with low tidal range. I could see an electric passenger launch service working quite well along the Clyde, on the F&C canal, or across Loch Lomond, for example.


The optimist on me observes that while this technology seems distant, futuristic and impossible now, by the time circa 2030 that trillions of pounds/dollars/euros/yen/renminbi are invested in electric transport, hopefully we can revisit the issue of electric ferries, not as a government-funded white elephant but as a pragmatic step.

While I am tempted to speculate that relatively sheltered short crossings such as Corran & Rhubodach could be good first sites for electric ferries, I can foresee now the angry headlines in local papers: "Lifeline service at risk as untested electric ferry mooted for key route".


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