Wärtsilä to power world’s largest battery electric ferry

Finnish technology group Wärtsilä has revealed it will provide its battery electric propulsion system and waterjets for the world’s largest battery-electric ferry.

Incat Tasmania

The vessel is a new Ro-Pax ferry being built by Incat Tasmania and has been ordered by South American shipowner Buquebús. The Finnish firm has contracted Corvus Energy to provide the battery systems for the vessel. The company’s lightweight battery, Dolphin NextGen, is based on the architecture of the 4-year, multi-million development program for the Corvus Blue Whale ESS. 

Incat Tasmania

The Blue Whale development included a ground-up redesign that reevaluated and improved every aspect of battery design, including battery chemistry, mechanical and electrical design, and software building blocks, according to Corvus Energy.

The ferry will be fully battery powered, with e-motor driven Wärtsilä waterjets as the main propulsors. The battery modules and energy storage system package is four times larger than on any electric/hybrid ship currently operating.

The full Wärtsilä scope of supply includes Wärtsilä’s own energy management system, the power conversion system, DC shore charging system, the 40 MWh battery modules, the DC hub, the eight electric motors, eight Wärtsilä axial flow WXJ1100 waterjets, and the ProTouch propulsion control system.

Delivery of the Wärtsilä equipment is scheduled for the latter part of 2024, and the vessel will be delivered in 2025.

Incat Tasmania

With more than 40 MWh of energy storage, it will be the largest battery system installed onboard a ship – four times as big as the current largest installation. The 130-meter long vessel will also be the world’s first zero-emissions, lightweight catamaran. The order with Wärtsilä was booked in July 2023.

“The design addresses the market’s needs and requirements by utilising batteries, making it a very viable option for owners and operators looking to increase the sustainability of their fleets. We would also like to thank Wärtsilä for supporting us with an extremely efficient, completely integrated propulsion package, and are really looking forward to working with them to make this project a huge success,” said Robert Clifford, founder and Chairman of Incat.

“The eight e-motor waterjet propulsion configuration is the most efficient available on today’s market for this speed range and type application while boasting all the benefits from Wärtsilä’s axial flow waterjet technology – low weight, shallow draft, superb manoeuvrability, and low maintenance,” commented Roger Holm, President of Wärtsilä’s Marine Power business.

The vessel will operate between Argentina and Uruguay. It will carry 2,100 passengers and 225 vehicles.

“The ferry will also be the first fully electric vessel in South America, operating between Argentina and Uruguay,” Halvard Hauso, Commercial Director Europe, Corvus Energy.

This project demonstrates that “maritime decarbonization is now happening worldwide, not only in Europe”, Hauso concluded.