It might look like any other passenger ferry, but the electrically-powered Movitz, which operates in central Stockholm, could be the boat of the future, replacing traditional diesel-run vessels. The ferry started operating in September, covering a route from the city centre out to Stockholm’s Western suburbs and back.
The ferry uses so-called “supercharging” technology – a rapid charging system which requires just 10 minutes to give the ship’s nickel metal hydride batteries enough juice to run for one hour at nine knots.
The developers of this technology say it will result in a huge reduction in CO2 and particulate emissions, and cut operating costs by 30 percent.
“The ferry can be supercharged, which means it can run for up to one hour on 10 minutes’ charging time. So you can use your ship much more often than when you have to charge it all night,” says Hans Thornell of Green City Ferries.
There is currently only one charging station available in central Stockholm, which means the ferry has to use its diesel electric generators for part of the trip. But, Green City Ferries say that more charging stations are being built.
“The advantage is definitely that it is more environmentally friendly. A diesel-driven ship of this size will emit a lot of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and other particles that are harmful to humans. Here we have control over the whole electricity supply as we are part-owners of a wind power station, so we have control from propeller to propeller,” said Thornell.
According to the boat’s captain, it operates very much like a normal diesel-run vessel, the big advantage being that it is quieter and there is less vibration.
Staying in the field of alternative energy sources is the Mag Cook. This cooking pot heats up from the inside as it spins.
It uses built-in magnets that are spun using a pull-cord, creating an electromagnetic frequency which in turn generates heat.
Co-designer Ashley De Garmo said the idea is to offer energy freedom.
“You know, once it’s set up, it’s completely off the grid. You don’t have to worry about any other kind of input. You don’t have to worry about paying for electricity. Once you have it, then it produces the energy,” he explained.
Alongside the cooking pot, de Garmo and his team introduced another prototype: an induction ring. He says the simplicity of the technology and its portability means these could be valuable tools in places where people have been cut off from power supplies.
“That is something where you want it to be portable, but once it’s over there you don’t want any of this input. You don’t want it to be reliant on electricity. You want it to be sturdy and be able to operate. And I see there’s a good potential market within disaster relief,” he said.
The developers of the prototypes say the next challenge is to find a mechanism to keep the magnets spinning and the energy flowing for as long as it is needed.
They are convinced that the technology could lend itself to many applications, including heating in homes and water purification, offering people an attractive “off-the-grid” alternative.