The Rise of the Electric Ferry Market
As global markets turn to vehicle electrification and e-mobility applications to reduce carbon footprint, the marine industry has followed suit.
The global electric ferry market is estimated to reach a value of £7.8 billion by 2027. This growth is accounted for by the increasing production of fully electric and hybrid-electric ferries in an attempt to meet government legislation to reduce emissions and combustion fuel usage. The growth is also driven by advancements in battery, motor and electric marine technology.
Major cities have already begun the adoption of electric ferries into their infrastructure, proving that the potential of cleaner marine transport is possible. Lisbon has rolled out a fleet of 10 electric ferries, each carrying up to 540 passengers across the Tagus river. Helsinki has also trialled the use of electric ferries to transport passengers across the Reposalmi strait.
These early adoptions of sustainable marine travel will prove as a pilot for other cities that look to follow suit; giving them insight into the operations, maintenance and pain points of the transition; leading to more successful and efficient wider adoption moving forward.
Advantages of Electric Marine Industry
Electric ferries and ships offer advantages such as:
- Zero emissions propulsion – the worldwide fleet of traditional ferries produce 20 million tons of sulphur dioxide and consume 370 million tons of fuel every year.
- Higher efficiency than traditional ferries
- Refuelling (charging) of electric ferries is much cheaper than refuelling traditional ferries
- No potential for fuel dumping or accidental leakages into the ocean
- Enhanced safety
- Less noise and vibrations
Main Components in Electric Ferries
Large rechargeable batteries are used to power the electronics of electric ships. The greater the capacity of the battery, the higher the range of the ship. Battery packs within electric ferries require to be sufficiently bonded and sealed in order to remain protected from the challenging conditions found in marine conditions, preventing accidental and potentially dangerous incidents. As with all battery-based vehicles, manufacturers face significant challenges regarding thermal management and the long-term performance of batteries.
Due to this, manufacturers look to innovative thermal management solutions to allow for safe use over the long term.
The batteries within electric ferries can be charged in various ways. Most commonly, they can be charged via a mains charger using shore-side power. They can also be charged through the use of onboard solar panels, towed generators, onboard wind turbines and alternators. With the demanding conditions endured by vessels and infrastructure within a marine environment, it is essential that charging points are properly prepared to be operational at all hours to keep operations running smoothly.
Electronic controllers within electric ships allow the control of all manoeuvrable operations by the users onboard. One crucial controller is the speed controller, which controls the speeds of the ship.
Electric ships and ferries utilise various motors to propel themselves forward in the water. Many ships and ferries use permanent magnet DC motors or AC motors, depending on the application. Motors must be insulated and protected adequately to maintain their function. Discover our full guide on bonding motors to learn more.
Electric ships and ferries utilise drivetrains and gear transmission systems to switch between different motors and propellers to optimise efficiency in different applications.
Top Solutions for Electric Ferry Manufacturing & Repair
Bonding and sealing motors is an essential task that needs to be considered carefully by electric marine manufacturers.
Adhesives and sealants provide unique advantages when compared to traditional bonding mechanisms, including:
- Water resistance
- Increased structural strength
- Corrosion protection
- Thermal endurance
- Easy and quick application
- Improved durability
- Cheaper labour costs
Araldite 2021-1 is a two-component methacrylate adhesive that can be used for bonding batteries. It provides high shear and peel strength, fast curing and excellent resistance to water and chemicals, making it suitable for demanding outdoor environments. It is also suitable for service temperatures up to 100°C.
Araldite 2051 and Araldite 2048-1 are similar products that can be used for bonding battery casings, with Araldite 2048-1 being black in colour, providing an aesthetic look to the battery case. Araldite 2051 is fit for use in extreme conditions with no surface preparation.
Araldite 2014-2 is a two-component epoxy adhesive that can be used for bonding motors and sensors. Due to producing very little outgassing while providing superior gap-filling, it is perfect for sensitive electronic components and printed circuit boards (PCBs). It also provides excellent temperature, water and chemical resistance, making it ideal for applications with outdoor use.
Araldite CW 1312/Aradur HY 1300 is an optimally filled casting system that can be used for encapsulating batteries and motors. They provide good thermal shock resistance, thermal endurance and low water absorption, making it ideal for marine applications.
Araldite CW 5742/HY 5726 is an epoxy casting and impregnating resin system that can be used for encapsulating rotors and stators within motors. It provides great thermal and chemical endurance, as well as superior flow and gap-filling properties.
Araldite CW 2710/Aradur HW 2711-1 is a two-component epoxy casting system that can be used for encapsulating generators, actuators, modules, sensors and motors within electric ferries. It provides good resistance to thermal changes and atmospheric and chemical degradation.
DOWSIL 3145 RTV is a one-part silicone adhesive and sealant that can be used for sealing openings in modules, housings and around wired and electrical leads in electric ferries. It provides high tensile strength and elongation and can be used on applications that require high-temperature stability.