Denmark’s first new-build hybrid ferry operating on key passenger route

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Danfoss Editron has provided the hybrid electric drivetrain system powering a new ferry connecting the communities of Thyborøn and Agger in north west Denmark. The ferry, which was delivered by the country’s Søby Værftshipyard, was ordered to replace the previous one that had been running for over 40 years and reached the end of its operational lifetime.

 Like most ferries in Denmark, the Thyborøn-Agger service operates over a relatively short distance, with an approximate crossing time of just 12 minutes. Because of this short journey time, it undertakes a high number of crossings every day. This operational profile meant that when a new ferry was required it was suitable to be powered by hybrid electric propulsion, as the savings in operating costs would be so great that they would cover, and eventually exceed, the initial investment expenditure.

 The new Thyborøn-Agger ferry has capacity for 22 vehicles and is anticipated to transport 5000 trucks, 50,000 passenger vehicles and 140,000 passengers annually. It is equipped with a Danfoss Editron serial hybrid drivetrain system comprising two 374kW redundant propulsion lines. The EDITRON system consists of two 374kW electric propulsion motors, two 323kW diesel engines, two electric generators mounted onto the diesel engines and two 75kVA hotel load outlets for alternate current consumers. It also features two 78kWh battery packs for energy storage, a 45kVA shore charging connection and two compact direct current panels including power management system controllers, as well as connections for both energy providers and consumers.

 The system uses synchronous reluctance assisted permanent magnet technology and is engineered to function in harsh conditions, such as the choppy waters of the North Sea that the Thyborøn-Agger ferry operates in. It is also half the size of conventional, diesel-electric propulsion systems, making it the most compact and lightweight available on the market. The EDITRON software also cuts fuel and running costs, resulting in significantly reduced CO2 emissions and payback period.

 Kim Raabjerg Korshøj, Crossing Leader of the Thyborøn-Agger ferry, commented:

 “Danfoss Editron’s system was smaller and lighter than other products by a weight equal to four cars, meaning it was the perfect choice to be used in our new hybrid electric ferry. The space savings and high efficiencies mean that, even though the new ferry is larger than the old one, it is expected to have a lower operational cost per crossing due to the savings in fuel and the reduced maintenance needs.”

 Siebe de Vries, Danfoss Editron’s Marine Operations Manager, added:

 “The cost of energy has been lowered for ferries such as the Thyborøn-Agger service by the Danish government. This means that in the future the energy storage on board could be expanded so the ferry operates on even more batteries, reducing the use of gensets. Our EDITRON system is easily adaptable for such future optimisation and is even capable of being converted to a fully-electric vessel if required.”

 The introduction of the Thyborøn-Agger ferry will help the Danish government meet its EU 2020 climate and energy targets. By 2020, the country wants to have reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the buildings, agriculture and transportation sectors by 20% compared to levels recorded in 2005. Further down the line, Denmark is aiming to be completely independent of fossil fuels by 2050.