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Cutting edge innovation powers zero-emission ferries

With its ambition to be the first carbon-neutral capital by 2025, Copenhagen is keen to provide greener alternatives for passengers using public transport, including its popular ferry buses.


5 Ferries 1 MW Copenhagen, Denmark 8 Months


Five zero emission electric ferry buses would be added to the route from Teglholmen to RefhaleØen that was currently serviced by traditional passenger ferries, bringing locals and tourists to a total of 13 stops along the route. Designed by ship builders Damen Shipyards and operated by Arriva, the ferries would have a capacity of 80 passengers, 8 bikes and 4 wheelchairs/strollers. Charging needed to take place on the floating jetties, within a short space of time, at the first and last stop of the route. Unlike charging a static land vehicle, this would require a new approach that allowed fast, reliable charging that accommodated movement caused by waves or strong weather conditions. Charging needed to require no adjustments to the operator’s service – ferries needed to operate on a minimal battery pack and recharge without disturbing the existing schedule.


Heliox, Staubli and Damen collaborated to design and develop a new integrated charging system with increased charging capacity, constructed at the port area terminals. Two Heliox OC 600 KW were installed using a Staubli QCC3 pin as charging interface.  The recharging ‘pin’ from the jetty connects with a charging point in the bow of the ferry to enable reliable charging whatever the weather conditions. With the total route taking an hour, recharging takes place at the beginning and end of each route. Using a fast-charging system and a small battery pack, recharging completes in as little as 7 minutes without any disruption to the schedule; simple and automatic fast-charging to batteries in an innovative and bespoke system.


 Close cooperation between Heliox, Damen Shipyards and Staubli has resulted in: an auto-mooring system to ensure a secure connection between the vessel and the charging infrastructure. new battery packs, enabling sailings in all weather conditions and to guarantee ferries remain operational in unforeseen problems. increased battery capacity at charging points to power each vessel for longer routes. Solutions have been designed to meet criteria for the E-Cross label for environmental performance, meaning they are sustainable, efficient in operation and economically viable. The new electric port buses will decrease the City of Copenhagen’s public transport’s total emissions by 14% for NOx and as much as 44% for particles; a huge step in helping Copenhagen meet its goal to become a green, smart, carbon-neutral city.

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