All-Electric Ferry Named ‘Ship of the Year’ at SMM

The Norled "ZeroCat 120"
The Norled “ZeroCat 120”

The all-electric, aluminum car and passenger ferry “ZeroCat 120” has been awarded the prestigious ‘Ship of the Year’ award at the SMM trade show in Hamburg this week.

“ZeroCat 120” is owned by the Norwegian ferry operator Norled and was designed and built by Fjellstrand, located on the southwest coast of Norway at Omastrand in the Hardangerfjord.

The electrically-powered ferry was originally developed as a submission to a Norwegian Ministry of Transport competition where the winner would get a 10-year license to operate the Lavik-Oppedal route beginning in 2015. The new ferry, the world’s first to operate solely on battery power, will operate the route with 34 crossings a day, 365 days a year beginning January 1. The route and Norway in general is considered ideal for battery-powered ferries because of the short routes.

The ferry features a light-weight and slender catamaran hull made with aluminum and an all-electric power train designed by Fjellstrand with battery technology from Siemens. The ZeroCat will be equipped two batteries placed on both ends of the ship, so the ferry can recharge during turnaround times.  In addition, all systems are optimized for low energy consumption and heat recovery, with LED lighting and solar panels. The vessel has capacity for 120 cars and 360 passengers and will operate at about 10 knots.

Hence the name, the “ZeroCat 120” will emit zero greenhouse gases, CO2, methane or nitrogen oxides to the environment which, according to Siemens, will eliminate nearly 3,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year. In addition to the environmental benefits, the ferry’s operational and maintenance costs will be lower compared to a conventional ferry.

The award was presented by Norwegian State Secretary Dilek Ayhan at SMM on Wednesday. Accepting the award was Norled Managing Director Ivan Fossan and Technical Director Sigvald Breivik, Managing Director Ivar Gaute Kolltveit from Fjellstrand, and Edmund Tolo represented Fjellstrand Design.

The ‘Ship of the Year Award’ is in instituted and selected by the Norwegian-based maritime trade journal, Skipsrevyen based on several criteria. The “ZeroCat 120” is the first passenger vessel to win the prestigious award since 2001 when “The World”, a luxury residential cruise ship, was announced as the winner.

Other nominees for the ‘Ship of the Year’ 2014 award included the “With Harvest”, an LNG-powered fish feed carrier, and the MV Juanita, a platform supply vessel notable for its new propulsion system as well a new cargo tank solution.