Battery pair mark milestone for Sweden’s HH Ferries

Malcolm Latarche

Malcolm Latarche · 12 November 2018


Swedish ferry operator HH Ferries Group has officially inaugurated the 1991 built Tycho Brahe and the 1992 built Aurora as the world’s largest battery-powered passenger ferries on the high-frequency route between Helsingborg and Helsingör.

Bringing the double-ended ships into service marks the end of a three-year project with a financial scope of around SEK 300 million. It is HH Ferries Group’s largest single investment ever. INEA, the European Union’s executive agency for innovation and network, has supported the project with around SEK 120 million.

In each port, automatic land-based charging stations supplied by ABB and equipped with industrial robots perform the connection and maximise the charging period to enable efficient charging of each vessel’s 640 batteries within a few minutes. The batteries are located in containers on top of the ferries along with two deckhouses for transformers, converters and cooling systems. From here, cables run to docking points at each end of the vessel, ensuring that the batteries can be charged swiftly and without complications at each docking. The battery power of each ferry is 4,160kWh.

Although planned to run full time on battery power, the two vessels’ quartets of Wärtsilä diesel engines are retained on board as back up to the battery systems. Modifications to the diesel powered pair involve ABB’s Onboard DC Grid technology.

“It is a pioneer project we have completed, and even though it has been challenging, it has been worth the efforts. Our employees and collaboration partners have put in a huge amount of work to ensure that the new technology is efficient. Simultaneously, our owners and INEA have supported and displayed great trust in the project throughout the process” said Johan Röstin, CEO of HH Ferries AB.

“The official inauguration marks a milestone for HH Ferries Group’s green strategy. The ambitious project reduces the company’s total emissions of CO2, NOx and particles by 65% when the two high-frequency ferries are powered by green electricity. That is great news for the environment in and around Öresund and for customers and inhabitants in our local area. And it proves that determination and the will to invest enables the realization of grand targets – in the environmental area as well,” said Röstin.

As well as bringing the modified ships into service, the company has also opted to change its name and will in future operate under the name ForSea Ferries

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