ZEM electrifies Swiss ferry

November 10, 2021 Maritime Safety News

A historic small passenger ferry on the Greifensee is set to be its first vessel in the German Part of Switzerland to embark upon a sustainable journey away from fossil fuels with ZEM batteries.

Norway-based battery system supplier ZEM is opening new territories for its battery and electric driveline solutions after partnering with Shiptec AG following a successful tender for the electrification of the Swiss passenger ferry Heimat. In creating the first sustainably powered passenger vessel for a historic vessel in Switzerland, the project will also be ZEM’s first foray into the region.

Now on to its third diesel engine since it was built in 1933, the Heimat operates all year round, typically making 12 daily trips as it carries up to 60-foot passengers a time crossing the quiet and romantic Greifensee between Maur and Uster, not far from Zürich.

SGG – the Greifensee shipping cooperative and owner of the Heimat – took a rather bold step and wanted to equip the historic vessel with the latest battery technology. It commissioned Shiptec AG in Luzern to carry out a feasibility study for electrification, scrutinising various systems proposed by various separate suppliers. Towing tests, as well high dynamic power measurements for propulsion and hotel load were carried out by Shiptec AG to provide information concerning the most suitable dimensions and placement of motor and batteries, likely service life, and an estimate of the likely investment and operating costs. With the results confirming the viability of such a conversion, SGG signed off on switching the motor launch to fully electric propulsion, potentially reducing CO2 emissions by around 10 tonnes per year.

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