The company’s Incat Electric design has opened a new market for Incat and attracted a lot of interest, which is not surprising, seeing how the whole world is moving towards electrification and zero-emission solutions.
Conceived by Revolution Design, Incat’s in-house design office, and built by Incat, the 426-foot (130-meter) ship is still under construction, but when complete, it will be the world’s largest all-electric aluminum ferry. The 13,000-GT vessel will accommodate 2,100 passengers and 226 vehicles and will cruise between Argentina and Uruguay.
While Incat originally designed the ferry with four dual fuel engines meant to make cruising environmentally friendly by burning LNG, the shipyard is now working to replace the original power plant with two electric motors (5 – 9.6 MW) beneath the hull, as per Buquebus’s request.
“This is a unique opportunity for Incat,” admitted Craig Clifford, managing director at Incat. “Whilst there are always challenges if you change any aspect of the design of a ship part way through a build, in simple terms, this is just swapping one method of propulsion for another. It will, however, have significant environmental benefits and open up a whole new market for these types of vessels.”
This change in the propulsion system involves a significant redesign, but it seems the high-speed craft manufacturer will make it possible by replacing 500 tons of equipment and fuel tanks with 400 tons of batteries in order to keep the vessel lightweight. Using aluminum instead of steel to build the ferry will also halve its weight.
As the company emphasizes, “lightweight means less energy,” and their previously-built lightweight ships use “up to 40% less power than an equivalent steel ship, which means up to 40% less emissions.”
Moreover, the electric ferry will be equipped with pods instead of jets, as the target speed is 25 knots (29 mph/46 kph), and pods are known to work pretty well for this speed. The expected range is 100 nautical miles (115 miles/185 kilometers).
Incat says this ground-breaking vessel, set to be delivered in 2025, will revolutionize the world’s shipping fleet.
Unfortunately, shore power is a major problem at the moment, that’s why the company designed its Incat Electric with generators on, but when more shore charging facilities become available, electric ferries might become the new norm.