hybrid passenger vessel

Estonia’s first hybrid ferry starts service

Following its successful conversion, ferry Tõll has become the first hybrid passenger vessel in Estonia.

Port of Tallinn/Raul Mee
Image Courtesy: Port of Tallinn/Raul Mee

During the reconstruction works, which cost almost EUR 1.6 million, TS Laevad, a subsidiary company of the Port of Tallinn, installed batteries on board Tõll.

The ship’s batteries allow from now on partial travel on electricity, which reduces the amount of diesel used and minimizes air pollution.

Specifically, the batteries are expected to reduce the vessel’s diesel consumption by 20%, thus also cutting CO2 emissions by 1,600 tons per year. In addition to emissions, underwater noise and vibration levels are also reduced.

Starting from 2 September, passengers on Virtsu-Kuivastu ferry line between Muhu and mainland Estonia are served by TS Laevad’s ferry Tõll. 

Jaak Kaabel, chairman of the management board of TS Laevad, noted that the retrofitting of Tõll is the next step in improving the environmental friendliness of the Estonian ferry sector, to which the company has paid increased attention over the past years.

“For several years now, we have been working to completely eliminate the use of fossil fuel on ferries in the Väinameri Sea area and achieve the zero-emission goal. The conversion of Tõll into Estonia’s first hybrid RoPax vessel is an important step towards this direction,” Kaabel said, adding that if the partially battery-powered solution proves efficient and justified, other new ships of the company will follow suit.

According to Taavi Aas, Minister of Economy and Infrastructure, the entire transportation sector is moving towards achieving the climate goals, and TS Laevad that provides transport services between the mainland and the islands, plays an important part here.

“Ambitious climate targets are accelerating the transition to cleaner technologies and solutions. The first hybrid passenger vessel is a development benchmark for all ferry shipping in Estonia,” Aas said.

TS Laevad operates regular ferry traffic between Estonia’s major islands Saaremaa and Hiiumaa and the mainland. TS Laevad’s fleet includes five ferries, of which Tõll, Piret and Regula operate the Virtsu-Kuivastu line and Leiger and Tiiu the Rohuküla-Heltermaa line.

TS Laevad was the first company in Estonia to use a diesel-electric hybrid solution on a ferry that runs with frequent daily departures and maneuvers, including in the winter months – in sub-zero temperatures. Previously, the battery technology anywhere in the world has not been used on such a large passenger ferry operating in such ice conditions in winter.

The retrofitting of Tõll began in 2019. The construction work was carried out by Baltic Workboats acting as a general contractor, the batteries were supplied by Corvus Energy, the electrical and automatic equipment by Norwegian Electric Systems, and the peak-shaving hybrid solution was designed by LMG Marin.

Image Courtesy: Port of Tallinn/Raul Mee