Frey, Norled

1st hybrid battery-electric express ferry joins Norled

 Norwegian ferry operator Norled AS has welcomed into the fleet the first of two hybrid battery-electric express ferries, built by compatriot OMA Baatbyggeri.

Image credit Norled

The delivery of MS Frey follows the successful commissioning of the diesel-electric systems integrated by SEAM, a Norwegian supplier of zero-emission solutions to the maritime industry.

The vessel will also undergo the installation of battery packs in the summer of 2023. The vessel is scheduled to go into service in Sogn in May 2024, together with its sister vessels.

In January 2022, OMA Baatbyggeri AS and Norled AS signed a delivery agreement for two hybrid battery-electric express boats. When delivered, both vessels will service the route between Sogn and Fjordane in Norway. Both vessels will be able to run entirely on electricity in most of the connections they will service. A third express vessel for the same route package is under construction and will be delivered to Florø Skyssbåt by OMA.

The vessel design features OMA’s combi-catamaran concept. The 30-meter long vessel will be able to carry trailers of 40 tons, alternatively seven private cars in combination with 72 passengers.

‍The new express boats are built with seawater-resistant aluminum – a strong and light material, which is essential for achieving energy efficiency while maintaining high speed and power. The material is 100 percent recyclable, according to Norled.

The main challenge for SEAM in this project was solving the puzzle of weight, space, and energy efficiency.

‍”Our aim, for every vessel, is to ensure the most efficient power train. For this project, we focused our efforts on further developing our power system platform to ensure the most energy-efficient solution, parallel to working on reducing both weight and space utilization onboard,” Project Manager, Rune Sørensen, explains.

‍SEAM initiated a full-scale re-design of their e-SEA® Drive power system platform to solve the puzzle. Everything from individual hardware components, solution architecture, and software were re-evaluated and updated, to ensure a satisfactory weight reduction and space utilization onboard.

The company said that the updated power platform achieves higher energy efficiency, which in turn decreases energy consumption during both diesel and electric operations.  

SEAM plans to integrate its new e-SEA® Drive power platform on future deliveries within the express boat segment and is looking into how this solution can be utilized in other ship segments in the future.

‍”The project has gone ahead without any big challenges so far, with a solid delivery by OMA. We have also received great feedback from both the yard and our representatives at the yard regarding the work SEAM has done throughout the project, including commissioning,” Mikal Espedal, Project Manager at Norled, said.

In May, the sister vessel to MS Frey is expected to be delivered from Oma Baatbyggeri to Norled.