Grimaldi picks Leclanché battery systems for two more hybrid RoRo ships

Italian operator of roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) ferries Grimaldi Group has selected Swiss energy storage solutions company Leclanché to supply battery systems for two of its latest hybrid vessels.

Courtesy of Leclanché

Leclanché will supply lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery systems for the tenth and eleventh vessels (both 5 MWh each) in Grimaldi’s Eco series. Once the ships are delivered in 2024, the company will have supplied 55 MWh of Li-ion battery systems for Grimaldi.

Prior to this order, Leclanché has already supplied marine rack systems for nine of the vessels in the Green 5th Generation (GG5G) hybrid fleet which began its commissioning in November 2020 with Eco Valencia.

Eco Valencia was followed by sister ships Eco Barcelona, Eco Livorno, Eco Savona, Eco Catania and Eco Malta from January through May 2021. Eco Mediteranea and Eco Adriatica were delivered in May and June of 2022 while the most recent vessel, the Eco Italia entered service in October 2022.

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The identical Ro-Ro vessels are 238 metres long, 34 metres wide and have a 67,311 gross tonnage. Each has a cargo capacity of around 500 truck trailers and 180 cars. Their hybrid propulsion systems include a 5 MWh Li-ion energy storage system and are fitted with exhaust gas scrubbers to reduce sulphur and particulate emissions.

Even with twice the loading capacity, the vessels are said to consume the same amount of fuel as previous ship generations at the same speed – reducing CO2 emissions per transported unit by 50%. During port calls, the pure battery operation reduces the ships’ exhaust and noise emissions to zero.

While sailing, the batteries are recharged by shaft generators as well as 350 m2 of solar panels. The complete hybrid propulsion system, supplied by Kongsberg Maritime, also includes electronically controlled variable frequency drives, energy management systems and Leclanché’s battery system.

Leclanché’s marine rack system was certified by classification societies DNV and Lloyd’s Register (LR).

“We are very pleased to be among the first companies anywhere to operate a fleet of hybrid roll-on/roll-off ferries which represent the state-of-the-art in short-sea shipping marine vessels”, said Andrea d’Ambra, manager at Energy Saving, R&D and Ship Design in Grimaldi Group.

“The Leclanché battery technology works like the mature system it is, providing silent and pollution-free operation while approaching and in-port, as well as supporting operations at sea. It has proven to be both safe and reliable and helps us to demonstrate a way forward to combating the proliferation of greenhouse gases.”