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China Completes Trials for World’s First Supercapacitor-Powered Ferry 

Chia builds world's first supercapactor powered ferry
CSSC tested the first ferry employing supercapacitor batteries (CSSC)

Published Nov 22, 2021 6:30 PM by The Maritime Executive

Chinese shipbuilder CSSC is reporting the first successful sea trials for a ferry employing a pure supercapacitor in its power system. It would be one of the world’s first commercial applications of the highly efficient power system which would hold the potential to greatly enhance electric power vessels. 

In announcing the breakthrough, CSSC said that its proprietary research division, 711 Research Institute used DC network electric propulsion technology, energy storage control technology, and smart ship applications to develop the propulsion system. Among the advantages of a supercapacitor system will be short recharging periods, slow power release with greater efficiency to provide for longer cycle times, and more efficient operations. The fully electric propulsion will also greatly reduce vibration and noise to produce a more comfortable ride for passengers.

The ferry, Xin Ecology, measures 213 feet in length and is outfitted with two sets of supercapacitor batteries which they reported have a total energy storage capacity of 625kWh. The output power will be 2000 kilowatts providing the vessel with a speed of 12 knots. The engineers and scientists report the system will be able to support a minimum of 200,000 power cycles. The fast recharges and long cycle times will save about 500 tons of fuel per year.

Operation of the ferry will be supported with a 2.5 MW DC shore power station. It will provide for the recharging of the supercapacitor batteries, although they did not indicate how often the recharging would be required.

CSSC is also reporting that it is the world’s largest passenger ferry equipped with azimuth propellers. The use of the azimuth propellers/rudders they said gives the vessel a higher degree of maneuverability, improving the turning performance over conventional ferries.

The ferry is expected to enter service at the end of the year operating in the area near Shanghai. Special attention was also given to the strength and height of the vehicle deck for the vessel. It reportedly can accommodate tourist buses as well as large trucks with passengers in a separate lounge area on the same deck.