NO: DELENG / 2017 / 70663
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IRS Classifies Innovative Hybrid Electric Catamarans for Green Inland Ferry Services
By Sea and Coast | 19/08/2023
Ship classification society, Indian Register of Shipping (IRS), has recently secured an important order for the provision of classification services for a set of six innovative hybrid electric catamarans. These state-of-the-art vessels are earmarked for deployment by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) for inland ferry operations, serving as a sustainable and efficient means of transportation.
Each of these cutting-edge catamarans boasts a passenger capacity of up to 50 individuals, ensuring their potential to contribute significantly to the enhancement of regional transport infrastructure. The construction of these vessels will take place at the esteemed Hooghly Cochin Shipyard Ltd. in Kolkata, representing a crucial step towards boosting the local maritime industry and facilitating domestic shipbuilding capabilities.
The distinguishing feature of these catamarans lies in their propulsion system, which leverages the combined power of electric motors and diesel generators. The vessels will operate in a hybrid mode, seamlessly transitioning between these two power sources to optimize energy efficiency and minimize emissions. The electric motors will be energized by advanced lithium-titanium oxide (LTO) batteries, an innovative solution that enhances overall performance and reduces environmental impact.
One of the notable aspects of this project is the vessels' ability to recharge their batteries via the electric supply from shore grids while berthed at jetties. This feature highlights the commitment of the project to sustainable practices and aligns with the broader industry shift towards eco-friendly and responsible operations. Additionally, these catamarans will carry the classification notation "Battery Prop," signifying their adherence to rigorous rule requirements and their integration of cutting-edge battery technology for propulsion.
To ensure the successful implementation of battery systems in maritime applications, IRS has taken proactive steps in publishing comprehensive guidelines. These guidelines cover various aspects, ranging from the effective installation of lithium-ion battery systems to their safe operation, thereby mitigating potential risks and ensuring compliance with international standards.
Commenting on this significant achievement, Cdr K Dhawan (Retd), Head Defence at IRS, emphasized the society's commitment to renewable energy and hybrid propulsion systems. Furthermore, the organization's dedication to supporting India's national initiatives such as "Make in India" and "Atma Nirbhar Bharat" underscores its role in fostering efficient and sustainable propulsion solutions.
This milestone aligns with a global trend towards harnessing battery power for maritime propulsion, driven by advancements in battery technology and growing environmental consciousness. As of the beginning of 2023, it is estimated that approximately 645MWh of shipboard battery power is in operation worldwide, representing a substantial increase from 2019 figures.