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Astilleros Gondan, ABB Partner on 10-Vessel Electric Ferry Contract

astilleros gondan
Courtesy Astilleros Gondan

Published Apr 12, 2021 7:20 PM by The Maritime Executive

Technology and power firm ABB is working with Spanish shipbuilder Astilleros Gondan on a contract for a series of 10 all-electric fast ferries for Lisbon's Tagus River. 

The 130-foot vessels will have room for up to 540 people each, and will replace the existing diesel-powered fleet of the public ferry company Transtejo SA. They will serve three key routes linking Lisbon to Cacilhas, Seixal and Montijo on the south bank of the Tagus river. They will have a relatively high service speed, making 16 knots in everyday operation. 

ABB will deliver the energy storage system, along with integrated electric power and automation systems. Financial details were not disclosed. 

Portugal's Carbon Neutrality Roadmap calls for a 98 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, in line with the Paris Climate Accord. Expanding and decarbonizing public transport options - like Transtejo's ferries - will help the country towards this goal. 

ABB estimates that replacing the ten diesel ferries on the Tagus river with all-electric powered vessels will remove about 6,500 tons of CO2 emissions every year. This is equivalent to the annual carbon dioxide emissions generated by around 1,400 passenger cars.

“Operators serving inland waters have been among the pioneers of zero-emission propulsion, and we are truly honored that ABB’s technology will support the sustainability goals of one of Europe’s great capitals,” said Juha Koskela, Division President, ABB Marine & Ports. “This project is another important industry milestone for zero-emission propulsion, showing that proven technology is available today to serve future needs on sustainable fast passenger ferry transport.”

ABB has provided the power systems for many battery-electric and battery-hybrid vessels over the years, like the electric tour boats operated by Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls.