Scandlines backs eco-alternatives to Fehmarn link

25 Sep 2012
'Prinsesse Benedikte': first of four to get Scandlines energy management systems

'Prinsesse Benedikte': first of four to get Scandlines energy management systems

Starting in October four Scandlines ferries are being fitted with hybrid drives as the first of two separate projects designed to provide possible alternatives to the planned Fehmarn Belt fixed link, writes Tom Todd.

The German-Danish Baltic ferry operator said the 14,822gt ferry Prinsesse Benedikte will be fitted with an energy management operating system during a regular yard call in October.

Spokeswoman Lea Weber told The Motorship the system converts surplus engine output into electricity which will be stored in accumulators and fed back into the propulsion system alongside standard fuel, thus saving fuel costs. The accumulators, which reports said could be of up to 20 tonnes in weight, are being installed on the top deck of the ship at the start of next year.

The firm said it expected to save 15-18% in fuel costs. If the Prinsesse Benedikte system lives up to expectations, the exercise will be repeated on three other ferries on the Puttgarden- Rødby route. Sister ship Prins Richard and the 15,187gt Schleswig-Holstein and Deutschland will be equipped by the end of 2013, Scandlines said.

Lea Weber would give no initial details of the yards which will carry out the work, equipment manufacturers or of the investment costs involved in the hybrid technology project.

The Puttgarden-Rødby route is the one mainly threatened by the planned Fehmarn Belt fixed link. Originally due in 2018 it is now not likely to be completed until 2022. Some believe even further delays are inevitable given EU cuts and the current economic climate.

Scandlines says if there were guarantees the link would not be ready until at least 2030, it could also build and operate viable hydrogen-powered, zero-emission ships between Puttgarden and Rødby.

The ships are the second proposal in the owner’s two-pronged strategy for the future. It is working with GL subsidiary Future Ship GmbH on a project for four hydrogen ships “of bigger capacity” than current vessels.

Scandlines said the hydrogen fuel required could be obtained from surplus electricity generated in offshore wind park night operation and fed into fuel cells on board ship which in turn would supply engine and equipment needs. The firm said that compared to a fixed link, its zero-emission ships would save 3m to 5m tonnes of CO2.

Again no technical details have been revealed but according to Scandlines Deutschland MD Gernot Tesch, the company would be prepared to invest about €500m in the ships.

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