Indian Register of Shipping to class IWAI’s six hybrid electric catamarans

Ship classification society Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) has secured an order for providing classification services for six hybrid electric catamarans for the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI). 

Indian Register of Shipping

The six vessels are intended for providing inland ferry services, with a capacity of 50 passengers each. They will be constructed at Hooghly Cochin Shipyard Ltd., Kolkata.

The six catamarans will be propelled by electric motors powered by lithium-titanium oxide (LTO) batteries and diesel generators, operating in a hybrid mode, providing electrical power to propulsion motors and other ship systems.

The batteries are also capable of being charged by electric supply from a shore grid when the vessels are berthed on jetties. The vessels will be assigned the additional class notation “Battery Prop” which is assigned to vessels where the battery systems are used for ship propulsion and are in accordance with the rule requirements.

IRS has published Guidelines for Battery Powered Vessels which provide requirements for effective installation and safe operation of Li ion battery systems, through mitigation of the risks, from the design stage to onboard installation and operation of battery systems.

“IRS is fully geared to work with industry on renewable energy and hybrid propulsion systems and to promote the use of alternate fuels. IRS is committed to support the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ call given by Hon’ble Prime Minister in the field of efficient green propulsion solutions and for providing its clients with associated rules and guidelines,” Cdr K Dhawan (Retd), Head Defence, stated.

There is a growing trend in the use of battery power for vessel propulsion/auxiliaries to promote sustainable means of transport. This trend is being driven by a range of factors, including advances in battery technology, the decreasing cost of batteries, and a growing awareness of the environmental and economic benefits of sustainable shipping.

Around 645MWh of shipboard battery power was in service worldwide at the start of 2023, around 400MWh more than was the case in 2019, according to the estimates from ship design and engineering company Foreship.

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In line with this, to ensure that battery systems meet the stringent marine requirements, IRS has published Class Notes for Approval of Li-ion Battery Systems, which are based on international standards.

Recently, the classification society signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Madhya Pradesh Urja Vikas Nigam for classification and certification of solar-electric boats.

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