Battery-Powered Hybrid RoPax Completed by Sembmarine for Norway

battery-powered zero-emission ferry
Norled's battery-powered ferry completed in SIngapore by Sembcorp Marine (photo courtesy of Norled)

Published Mar 17, 2022 7:54 PM by The Maritime Executive

Construction on the first of three battery-operated roll-on/roll-off passenger (Ropax) ferries was recently completed at Sembcorp Marine’s shipyard in Singapore. The ferry is part of a new generation of zero-emission vessels emerging in the ferry sector and also marked Sembcorp Marine’s entry into the emerging market for next-generation RoPax ferries.

The new ferry named Hella with a homeport of Stavanger, Norway was built for Norwegian ferry operator Norled with the two additional vessels to also be delivered in 2022. The hybrid-electric design vessels are designed to meet Norway’s new environmental standards and help Norled meet its objective to contribute to emission reductions through the introduction of innovative new vessels equipped with zero-emission technology.

The vessels’ design was according to meet Norled’s operational requirements incorporating energy-efficient solutions throughout the ferries. Among the features incorporated into the ferry are quick-connection shore charging plugs, auto-mooring, auto-cross, as well as an efficient hull, propulsion, and heat recovery systems. The design developed by LMG Marin also sought to minimize the hotel and auxiliary loads for greater efficiency and reducing the environmental impact from operations. 


Norled's battery-powered ferry completed sea trials in Singapore (Sembcorp Marine photo)


The three vessels will be deployed on Norled’s shortsea Hella-Vangsnes-Dragsvik route. They will normally operate on zero-emission, powered by lithium-ion batteries while maintaining a service speed of 10 knots. When required, they can run on combined battery-diesel hybrid backup modes. The batteries will be charged and recharged using green hydro-electric power.

“To serve efficiently as a ferry vessel, the design took into consideration the vessel’s operational profile and schedule, as well as design imperatives of passenger safety and comfort, and conducive working conditions for ferry staff,” said Tan Heng Jack, Head of Specialised Shipbuilding at Sembcorp Marine.

The design is for multi-deck, double-ended ferries, each with a capacity of 300 passengers and crew. Each of the vessels, which is 270 feet long, has a capacity of 80 cars or a combination of up to 10 cars and 10 trailer trucks. Consideration was also given to the passenger comfort and working conditions for the crew.

After completion of the trials, the new ferry was loaded aboard a heavy lift vessel, the Rolldock Storm registered in the Netherlands for the trip to Europe. They departed Singapore on March 15 on the delivery voyage. 

Wong Weng Sun, Sembcorp Marine President & CEO, noted that the successful execution of this project broadens Sembcorp Marine’s capabilities in innovative and sustainable engineering solutions providing the shipyard new opportunities in the development market segment. “The demand for passenger ferries is anticipated to increase owing to a wide range of factors including the emerging trend of ferries as a viable alternative transport, development in marine fuel technologies, and inclination of consumers towards luxury marine travel.”


The battery-powered ferry was loaded on a heavy lift vessel for transport to Norway (Sembcorp Marine photo)