More e-ferries to come

Stena Jutlandica will be equipped with electric motors for use in port, with the aim to reduce noise and emissions in urban environments. How will the development for electrical ferries look like in the future?

Electricity is very affordable in many markets, particularly in the Nordic countries. In comparison with fuels such as diesel, electricity costs about half as much per unit of energy. This gives electricity a long-term advantage in terms of ship operation.

Electricity also has other obvious benefits. It has higher efficiency and also significantly lower maintenance costs. In addition, electric operation also enables a simpler machinery setup.

On the other hand, diesel offers other significant advantages. The cost of installing batteries is much higher than providing a vessel with fuel tanks. In addition, battery manufacturing is very energy intensive.

Battery Price Expectation

Battery prices are falling while efficiency and production technology for batteries are improving. The graph above illustrates the cost development for batteries. The graph also shows the forecast levels. Battery prices are falling much faster than previously thought.

In a slightly longer perspective, the ship market is changing, and electrified ships will be more common. Initially, there will be a transitional period of hybrid systems, with electrical motors installed alongside existing combustion engines. All steps taken to electrify the fleet will result in a reduced environmental impact and, in Stena’s case also stronger finances.

The inflection point is a price of USD 200 per kWh. This would mean 10–15 years before Stena sees its first order of a 100-percent electrified ship, although with the current level of research and development in the area, progress could be faster. Electricity may soon show itself to be a competitive and sustainable alternative.