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BB Green electric commuter ferry fetches award at global Marine Conference

The BB Green electric commuter ferry by Green City Ferries has been awarded the ‘electric and hybrid propulsion system of the year’ at the Electric & Hybrid Marine World Expo Conference 2017, in the Netherlands. As the world’s first fully electric air supported vessel (ASV), the BB Green has been created with the assistance of several companies, including Volvo Penta, which supplied its propulsion pods.

The BB Green is the world's fastest air supported vessel (ASV) – and the first electric vessel of its kind to be used as a passenger ferry. It is used as a commuter ferry for up to 99 passengers on the inland waterways around Stockholm, Sweden (photo courtesy Volvo Penta).

The BB Green is the world’s fastest air supported vessel (ASV) – and the first electric vessel of its kind to be used as a passenger ferry. It is used as a commuter ferry for up to 99 passengers on the inland waterways around Stockholm, Sweden (photo courtesy Volvo Penta).

The fourth annual Electric & Hybrid Marine Awards took place in Amsterdam, Netherlands as part of Electric & Hybrid Marine World Expo in which a judging panel made up of leading international marine journalists, industry experts and academics, honoured the world’s finest engineers and innovative products in the electric and hybrid marine arena.

In service since June 2016, the BB Green is used as a commuter ferry for up to 99 passengers on the inland waterways around Stockholm, Sweden. Sweden-based Green City Ferries has a philosophy of producing fast, electronically-driven, quiet vessels with zero emissions to provide environmentally-friendly transport. The company is dedicated to preserving marine ecosystems and enhancing air quality for passengers.

BB Green is not only the electric ferry of the year but also represents the future – and I think we should all be looking to see how we can make transportation better for the future, said Hans Thornell, CEO of Green City Ferries in a statement.

A world first for passenger ferries

The design of the 25-tonne air supported vessel (ASV), created by Effect Ships International, has a hull that sits on a cushion of air, provided by a fan, to reduce friction by 40 percent when compared to a conventional vessel. A dual inlet, single outlet centrifugal fan is located in the bow of the BB Green, and the pressurised air it produces enables the vessel to reach higher speeds and use 40 percent less fuel than traditional propulsion methods.

It is currently the world’s fastest ASV – and the first electric vessel of its kind to be used as a passenger ferry – the BB Green has a top speed of 30 knots (56 km/h) and is capable of high-speed operation for 30 minutes.

A 200 kWh lithium titanate energy storage system in the prototype powers two electric motors. In the context of everyday operations, the ambition is to use a 500 kW battery, providing a range of 26 km; the vessel can be recharged in less than 20 minutes.

With this battery storage system, we set out to create an adaptable power source to show other operators that they could have a vessel like ours that is tailor-made to their own purposes. It is a vertically integrated system solution, said Thornell.

The battery system has a multi-string and multi-pack configuration that allows for an increase or decrease in capacity, easily, as required and provides full redundancy; and this also allows for customization in any marine environment. In addition, the battery is connected to an online cloud where data is monitored, thereby enabling the optimisation of its operation.

Leading the way for the future of transport

The performance of the BB Green is further amplified by two propulsion pods by Volvo Penta that have been involved in the project to test the viability of fully electric drivelines.

We have used cutting-edge design and technology, and Volvo Penta’s pods are an important part of the BB Green design. Our vessel is a forward-thinking option for commuting on city waterways as it is high speed and emission-free, said Thornell

Volvo Penta has supplied its state-of-the-art pod propulsion technology and Electronic Vessel Control (EVC) System to support the prototype vessel. The pods and EVC system are connected to the electric motors and provide both performance data and practical knowledge of how the fully electric passenger ferry can operate.

We are encouraged by the recognition that the BB Green vessel has received. Our current focus is to validate the customer benefits that existing and future technologies provide, which is why we see the value in participating in projects like BB Green. We see hybrid technology as a step forward in the marine industry, and we are continually looking at new ways in which we can provide new innovative solutions. To be part of a project that has won a sought-after international accolade shows the investment we are making for the future of transport, said Johan Wästeräng, head of Volvo Penta’s marine product management.

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