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World's largest all-electric ferry sets sail in Denmark

Ellen, is the world's largest all-electric ferry.
Ellen, is the world's largest all-electric ferry. Copyright Leclanché
Copyright Leclanché
By Alice Tidey
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The Ellen can carry 30 cars and 200 passengers.


The world's largest all-electric ferry completed its first voyage with passengers last week in Denmark.

The Ellen sailed between the southern Danish ports of Fynshav to Soby, on the island of Aero.

The e-ferry is capable of carrying 30 vehicles and 200 passengers and is powered by a battery "with an unprecedented capacity" of 4.3MWh, according to Swiss battery maker Lechanché which provided the system.

"Over one year, it will prevent the release of 2,000 tonnes of CO2, 42 tonnes of NOx [Nitrogen Oxide], 2.5 tonnes of particulates and 1.4 tonnes of SO2 [Sulfur Dioxide] into the atmosphere," Lechanché CEO Anil Srivastava said in a statement.

The director for traffic for Aero, Keld M. Moller, meanwhile, said he is "pleased to be able to offer the passengers an extraordinary pleasant journey free from noise, vibrations and diesel fumes."

The vessel can sail up to 22 nautical miles between charges — seven times farther than previously possible for an e-ferry. It will now need to prove it can provide up to seven return trips per day.

The European Union, which supported the project, aims to roll out 100 or more of these ferries by 2030.

The Ellen's inauguration comes just two months after Denmark's new Social Democrat government increased the country's emission reduction target from 40% to 70% compared to 1990 levels, setting out one of the world's most ambitious environmental policy.

A global 0.5% cap on sulphur in marine fuel will also enter into force in 2020.

Additionally, the International Maritime Organisation's strategy, adopted last year, calls for gas emissions from ships to peak as soon as possible and fall by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008.

The EU has demanded that the strategy, which is due to be revised in 2023, be strengthened with more ambitious emissions reductions of between 70% to 100% by 2050.

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