Alternative Energy

Battery energy storage solutions for next-gen electric ferries

19th March 2020
Joe Bush

Nidec ASI, the Nidec Industrial Solutions platform belonging to the Nidec Group, has supplied battery energy storage systems (BESS) for the latest vessel developed by Brødrene Aa, a Norwegian company that builds electric ferries and ships.

Nidec has implemented a BESS solution which allows the Seasight IV ship to sail electrically and silently, without producing any polluting emissions, guaranteeing maximum respect for the entire marine ecosystem, while at the same time ensuring completely safe sailing. The project is in response to the need to comply with a decision of the Norwegian Parliament that, by 2026, will restrict the movement of vessels within the fjords to electric ferries only, creating zero-emission waterways, that will benefit the health and wellbeing of the local population. It has been calculated that in just ten hours a cruise ship docked at a quay produces approximately the same amount of CO2 as 25 medium-sized cars in a year.

Seasight is a catamaran characterized by an unusual design, inspired by the Norwegian paths that zig-zag up the steep mountain slopes. The vessel gives passengers a chance to admire the breathtaking scenery of the Norwegian fjords on the external decks that surround the internal lounge.

This new vessel represents the third testament to the successful collaboration between Nidec ASI and Brødrene Aa. Together they have already designed and launched two other catamarans: one hybrid (the ‘Vision of the Fjords’) and one fully electric (‘Future of the Fjords’, which won the 2018 Ship of the Year award), which carry tourists along the splendid coast of Norway, silently, safely and reliably, providing a new and more sustainable approach to tourism.

Specifically, as with the two previous Seasight vessels Nidec ASI worked on, the company provided the BESS solutions with two 1,200kW-1,009kWh systems for a total of 2,018kWh (2.4MW), symmetrically located on the port and starboard. However, what makes the Seasight IV's system unique is the rack modules set-up, greater than that on the sister ships and significantly improved on a technical level. Nidec also supplied the data recording equipment, the battery management system and a closed circuit air cooling system that works thanks to an air-water heat exchanger.

“This important project confirms our commitment to supporting innovation in an increasingly green viewpoint in the nautical sector, strategic for the promotion of more sustainable mobility. The projects we have pursued over the years, starting with the Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian Navy's training ship, up to the Wider yachts and the other vessels for Brødrene Aa, demonstrate yet again the validity and adaptability of our energy storage and management solutions. The continuation of our partnership with Brødrene Aa is a new and exciting recognition of the seriousness and professionalism of all our colleagues."  Dominique Llonch, CEO of Nidec ASI and Chairman of Nidec Industrial Solutions, declared. "Seasight IV truly represents the future of sailing: a very low impact vessel that fits in with the landscape and respects the ecosystem in which it operates. I am therefore delighted that it incorporates customized solutions by Nidec."

This new project, together with the Nidec branded batteries presented at the latest Electric & Hybrid Expo in Amsterdam, and important projects such as the electrification of the quays in the port of Genoa, make Nidec ASI a real leader in energy transition for the maritime sector as it moves towards the affirmation of increasingly green and sustainable sailing.

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