World’s First Fully Electric High-Speed Ferry Soon to Start Operating in Norway

Medstraum is currently under construction and will operate in Norway. 6 photos
Photo: Tram Project
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Europe is getting closer to having its first fully electric, zero-emissions fast ferry operating on rivers in some of the biggest cities. Medstraum, born as part of the TrAM (Transport – Advanced and Modular) project, is currently being built at the Fjellstrand shipyard, in Norway.
Supported by the EU’s Horizon 2020 program for developing zero emissions passenger vessels, the TrAM project, led by Kolumbus, a mobility company in the Norwegian Rogaland county, aims to deliver the world’s first electrical fast ferry.

Fast ferries were not chosen by accident for this project. On one hand, it’s particularly difficult to electrify these types of vessels (with speeds between 20 and 30 knots), because they are high energy consumers and, on the other hand, the standard ones that are operating today are one of the biggest sources of CO2 emissions. According to Kolumbus, just 3 of the fast ferries operating in Rogaland emit as much CO2 as all of the company’s 450 buses operating in the region.

With a straightforward name (meaning “with electricity” in Norwegian), Medstraum is a revolutionary vessel not just in terms of electrical power, but also when it comes to manufacturing processes. By reusing and customizing previous designs, as well as using advanced modularization, this ship will have 25% lower production costs and up to 70% lower engineering costs.

Built to host 150 passengers, the 101-foot (31 meters) long ferry will be equipped with 2 electric motors and a 1.5MWh battery, and able to reach a 23 knots speed. Its light aluminum construction will contribute to lower energy consumption and this material will also be easily recyclable, after the ferry’s life cycle ends.

When construction is completed, this first demonstrator ferry will operate a trial passenger service between the city of Stavanger and the surrounding areas. The plan is to then build 2 more fast ferries, one of which will be operating on the River Thames in London, and the other one in inland waters in Belgium.

These pioneering fast ferries will pave the way for similar vessels all throughout Europe.

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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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