Electric and modular: can these clean ships outcompete diesel?

The fully electric fast ferry "Medstraum" has been designed with a modular approach that makes such vessels more cost-effective to produce
The fully electric fast ferry "Medstraum" has been designed with a modular approach that makes such vessels more cost-effective to produce   -   Copyright  TrAM Project
By Denis Loctier

The fast ferry "Medstraum", launched in Stavanger, Norway, became the world's first fully electric vessel of its class. The result of a European research project "TrAM", it features a new modular concept that can reduce the costs of electric ships, helping this emission-free technology compete with diesel-powered vessels.

Edmund Tolo works at "Fjellstrand" — a Norwegian shipyard that participated in the project. He explains the approach:

"You design things as a module, just like you have on the cars — you have a few different models that are built around the same platform. And it will be the same on the vessels, because all vessels will not look the same, and they will have different performances, and different roles to play in the transportation.

It will be faster. So we'll have shorter building times, and we of course hope to automatise a lot of processes and use less man-hours to produce it, so it gets cheaper.

We see that there is a demand from all over to reach the goals of zero emission. So, yes, this vessel will have some sisters — I'm quite sure of it!"

"Medstraum" runs about a dozen circular routes each day and plugs in for quick recharges between trips. And the best part is that all the electricity comes from renewable energy sources.

So, this new fast ferry is setting the course for replacing smoke-polluting boats with a truly clean alternative.