Many ferries are powered by polluting diesel, but the European Union-funded E-ferry could offer a cleaner alternative: a medium-sized ferry able to transport trucks, cars, passengers and cargo with zero greenhouse gas emissions. While this isn’t the first zero-emission ferry, the team behind the project says the new ferry will be able to cover longer distances — traveling 22 nautical miles between charges.

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E-ferry’s goal is to “apply an extremely energy efficient design concept and demonstrate a 100 percent electric, emission-free, medium-sized ferry” able to travel without polluting, according to the project website. The European Commission’s Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) announced the project will be soon set sail and operate in the Baltic Sea to connect the island of Ærø to the Denmark mainland. The ferry, dubbed Ellen, will travel the Søby-Fynshav and Søby-Faaborg routes, which are 10.7 and 9.6 nautical miles, respectively.

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Ellen could be equipped with “the largest battery pack ever installed in a vessel,” according to the project website, and boasts a battery capacity of 4.3 megawatt-hours. The website says, “The peak charging power of the E-ferry battery pack and its shore charging connection will be up to four megawatts.” The vessel will have two 750 kilowatt (kW) propulsion motors and two 250 kW thruster motors. It can carry 31 cars or five trucks, and 147 passengers in the winter and 198 in the summer. It will weigh around 650 tons. The E-ferry will be built with what the team described as new lightweight materials: “different kinds of carbon composites” as well as more traditional aluminum materials.

The team aims for 10 or more E-ferries operating by 2020, and 100 or more by 2030 to save 10,000 to 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year by 2020 and 100,000 to 300,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide yearly by 2030. E-ferry is supported by the Horizon 2020 initiative.

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