Danfoss Power Solutions’ Editron division to power the UK’s first high-speed hybrid passenger ferries

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

LONDON – Danfoss Power Solutions’ Editron division will power the U.K.’s first high-speed passenger ferries, with the first vessel joining Uber Boat by Thames Clippers’ fleet in autumn 2022. The two 40-meter-long vessels will be built by Wight Shipyard Co on the Isle of Wight.

The two new hybrid vessels, each capable of transporting up to 230 passengers, will help London achieve its ambitious target of becoming a zero-carbon city by 2030. Mayor Sadiq Khan has made tackling air pollution a priority as it is considered the most significant environmental risk to the health of London citizens. As well as reducing environmental impact, the ferries will also provide enhanced comfort for passengers due to the lower noise and vibration levels generated by Danfoss’ hybrid-electric propulsion system.

When operating in central London, the hybrid ferries will run on zero-emission electric propulsion, switching to biofuel power once outside the central zone. Wight Shipyard Co turned to system specifier, integrator and installer SEC Marine; Danfoss’ Editron division; and battery system supplier Spears Trident to power the new hybrid ferries. The Editron division will provide the vessels’ complete high-voltage DC distribution and control system, as well as motors and inverters.

The excess power from the biofuel engines will be used to feed the onboard AC supply and charge the batteries, removing the need for separate diesel-driven auxiliary generator sets to deliver the onboard AC supply. Additionally, in power take-in mode, this solution can feed the energy stored in the batteries back into the main propulsion line. Therefore, the ferries can sail on electric propulsion only or combine the battery energy with the main driveline machine, reducing fuel consumption and providing a quieter and more comfortable journey for passengers.

Erno Tenhunen, Danfoss’ Editron division’s Marine director, said:

“Cities and countries are increasingly turning to electrification solutions for their near-coastal vessels, not only to reduce CO2 emissions, but also to increase operational efficiency. The global potential for this electric conversion is also supported by technological innovations and a steady decrease in battery prices, enabling projects to achieve attractive payback times for ferry owners.

“Regardless of the onboard energy storage, whether batteries, hydrogen fuel cells or other technologies, we have the solution for integrating it into our DC system and converting the energy into the electric propulsion machines. We’re looking forward to continuing our work with Wight Shipyard Co and SEC Marine to help cities decarbonize.”

Steve Hopkins, owner and director of SEC Marine, added:

“Danfoss’ Editron division was the obvious partner of choice for this project with Uber Boat by Thames Clippers since we and Wight Shipyard Co already had an excellent experience working with them on a hybrid crew transfer vessel project. We’re delighted to be bringing the future of maritime transportation to the Thames and help decongest London, at a time where road transportation is responsible for nearly half of the city’s pollution.”