Future of The Fjords, an all electric passenger vessel owned by Norwegian transportation company The Fjords, has won the Ship of the Year 2018 award at SMM.
The ship was competing with Antarctic Endurance, a krill harvesting ship owned by Aker Biomarine, and Ponant’s expedition cruise ship Le Lapérouse.
The win marks the second time in three years that The Fjords, together with shipyard Brødrene Aa, has secured the title, with sister ship Vision of The Fjords taking the prize in 2016.
“We’re proud to receive this accolade and excited about what it means for ourselves, our stakeholders and the wider transport industry,” says The Fjords CEO Rolf A. Sandvik.
“Both Vision and Future were designed to showcase and protect the unique Norwegian UNESCO World Heritage listed landscape they sail through – delivering an optimal passenger experience, whereby visitors can become at one with nature, without impacting upon it.”
“However, while Vision, with its hybrid solution, marked the start of that journey, Future, a true zero emission, silent running vessel, really signals the fulfilment of our dream.”
Featuring a length of 42 meters,Future of The Fjords is the world’s first all-electric carbon fibre vessel.
Sandvik said that the ship’s ‘power dock’ charging solution was key to the win.
“Due to the limited local grid capability in our port of Gudvangen we could only access a charging capacity of 1.2MWh, just half of what the vessel requires,” he notes.
“So we, together with Brødrene Aa, in collaboration with our project partners, had to think a little differently to achieve our aims. Together we came up with the idea of a floating 2.4MWh battery bank contained in a 40m long glass fibre composite body. This could simply and slowly top up capacity from the grid through the day without the need for disruptive and expensive power surges.
“TWe ended up fitting the dock with a 40 m3 diesel tank for Vision, alongside storage room for on-board consumables, allowing the vessels to maximise passenger capacity. It’s a one of a kind piece of floating infrastructure, with potential far beyond this project.”
The Fjords and Brødrene Aa now believe the dock can be used as a widespread enabler for green transport on land.
The idea is that anywhere there’s an electric ferry – often remote rural locations with limited grid capacity – power docks can be used to charge electric cars, buses and other transport modes. In this way they could form cost effective, efficient and easy to install local power hubs, changing the way communities move.
“As such this project, and this win, is about more than just one ship, it’s about the Future,” concludes Sandvik.
Future of The Fjords launched in May and will now make around 700 round-trip voyages a year, silently sailing between Flåm and Gudvangen.