Molslinjen to test flywheel technology onboard its ferries

Danish ferry operator Molslinjen has entered into a strategic technology and investment deal with compatriot energy storage firm WattsUp Power A/S.

Express 3/Illustration; Image credit: Molslinjen

The company produces so-called flywheels, which in theory can enable a fast ferry to run entirely on green energy. A flywheel is essentially a mechanical battery that stores kinetic energy in a rotating mass. Advanced power electronics and a motor/generator convert that kinetic energy to electric energy. According to Molslinjen, enough flywheels can drive a ferry, serving as a mechanical battery without the problematic precious metals that must be used in standard batteries available on the market.

That potential has led Molslinjen to invest in the company, however, the parties have chosen not to disclose the size of the investment.

“With this agreement, WattsUp Power will continue to push the green transition, and push the transport industry away from fossil-based fuels and towards electrification of the transport sector, both in Denmark, Scandinavia, Europe, and North America,” WattsUp Power said in a statement.

“We are in full swing with a green conversion of a large part of our ferry routes, which must be operated on electricity, that is why we are building new electric ferries to Als and Samsø. But, we must also adjust our fast ferries, and here flywheels can be a game changer,” says Carsten Jensen, managing director of Molslinjen.

“The technology must mature, in other words; we don’t yet know if it will work in practice, but our partners and technical experts believe in the technology, which is now being developed for testing on board our fast ferries. Now we’re empowering WattsUp Power to take the next steps and get the ideas translated into practical tests, so we can clarify whether we have a technology that will be able to change our business and the business of many others as well,” added Jensen.

The first step towards approval of the technology will be an imminent test in the USA, which will show whether the theoretical calculations hold up in practice. Then the technology will then be installed on the Express 4, where flywheels will produce power for some of the ship’s systems.

“Our technology has the potential to make a difference in the world. We are very much looking forward to seeing our ideas unfold in practice now,” says CEO and founder of WattsUp Power, Martin Speiermann.