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Lisbon to roll out fleet of electric ferries

The ferries, which will enter service between 2022 and 2024, will transport up to 540 passengers across the Tagus river and will be pivotal to Lisbon’s public transport system.

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The ferries will operate on key routes across Lisbon's Tagus river
The ferries will operate on key routes across Lisbon's Tagus river

Spanish shipbuilder Astilleros Gondán has awarded a contract to global technology company ABB to supply an all-electric power solution for fast 40-metre urban passenger ferries in Lisbon.

 

The 10 new ferries will transport up to 540 passengers across the Portuguese capital’s Tagus river and will be pivotal to Lisbon’s public transport system.

 

Operating on key routes

 

The ferries will be operated by the public ferry company Transtejo and will replace the existing fleet serving this route when they enter service between 2022 and 2024. They will run on three key routes linking Lisbon to Cacilhas, Seixal and Montijo on the south bank of the Tagus.

 

In addition to energy storage, ABB will deliver a fully integrated electric power solution and an integrated marine and propulsion automation system. The fleet renewal project represents a significant commitment by Lisbon metropolitan planners to accelerate the introduction of emissions-free public transport solutions.

 

Increased electrification of transportation, including inland waterway transport, will play a key role in helping Portugal achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. According to the national 2050 Carbon Neutrality Roadmap, the transport sector aims to achieve 98 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 2005, by strengthening the role of the public transport system and replacing current fossil fuel means of transportation with a mainly electric fleet.

“Cutting greenhouse gas emissions are top priorities in urban planning. Today, the technologies chosen for fast ferries operating so close to the heart of the city must be clean and green”

ABB estimates that replacing the 10 ferries operating on the Tagus river from diesel power to all-electric integrated power solution is expected to cut about 6,500 tons in CO2 emissions every year. This is equivalent to the annual carbon dioxide emissions generated by around 1,400 passenger cars annually.

 

“Cutting greenhouse gas emissions are top priorities in urban planning. Today, the technologies chosen for fast ferries operating so close to the heart of the city must be clean and green, as well as proven in terms of safety and reliability,” said Antonio Pacheco, director of GRP Division, Astilleros Gondán. “ABB has been selected both on the grounds of energy-efficiency and its extensive experience in delivering all-electric and hybrid propulsion solutions to the ferry market.”

 

The new ferries, which will have a service speed of 16 knots and a maximum speed of 17 knots, will be powered by battery packs with a total capacity of 1,860-kWh each. ABB’s initial contract covers the fully integrated electric power solution and an integrated marine and propulsion automation system for all 10 ferries and the battery pack for the debut vessel of the series.

 

“Operators serving inland waters have been among the pioneers of zero-emission propulsion, and we are truly honoured that ABB’s technology will support the sustainability goals of one of Europe’s great capitals,” said Juha Koskela, division president, ABB marine and ports. “This project is another important industry milestone for zero-emission propulsion, showing that proven technology is available today to serve future needs on sustainable fast passenger ferry transport.”

 

Sustainable shipping

 

With the International Maritime Organisation targeting a cut in annual emissions from ships of at least 50 per cent by 2050 against 2008 levels, the all-electric ferry project represents a significant contribution to sustainable shipping by the city of Lisbon.

 

Ferry industry association Interferry estimates that the sector transports over two billion passengers worldwide every year, with electric propulsion considered a proven technology that can reduce emissions at global scale.

 

Data from the Maritime Battery Forum indicates that over 130 battery-powered ferries are already in operation, and 90 more are on order. ABB has announced all-electric ferry projects with P&O Ferries, Washington State Ferries and Busan Port Authority in South Korea within the last nine months.

 

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