First electric ferry launched in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
electric ferry
del canto chambers 2

FORMENTERA – Baleària has just launched “the first electric ferry in Spain for passengers and freight with zero emissions”. Under the name Cap de Barbarià, it will sail between Ibiza and Formentera next summer. 

The zero-emission ferry has lithium batteries, is 82 metres long, 15.5 wide, and will have a capacity for 390 passengers. It also has 240 linear metres of cargo (it is a passenger and freight ferry) and will be able to reach a cruising speed of 14 knots. 

Electric ferry

Cap de Barbarià first entered the water in Astilleros Armon Vigo, where the ferry is being built. That was during the ship’s christening. It “signifies a new concept of travel between Ibiza and Formentera. It is more sustainable and eco-efficient, aimed at enjoying the journey and at the same time essential to the delivery of goods to Formentera,” explained Adolfo Utor of Baleària. 

Utor also stressed that this electric boat “will be the most durable of the fleet”. In addition, the ship is prepared to incorporate the use of hydrogen on an experimental basis. 

The ferry is scheduled to connect Ibiza and Formentera in less than an hour. It will start from the beginning of summer 2023, with zero-emission navigation in ports thanks to electric propulsion. 

Significant improvement in air quality 

The ship will have an energy storage system, with “state-of-the-art lithium batteries that will give it a range of 12 hours in port.” The vessel’s electrical installation will be provided with an intelligent management system to optimize its use at all times and improve efficiency. 

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During all phases of approach, manoeuvring, mooring and staying in port, the ship will not emit polluting gases into the atmosphere “and therefore – explains the shipping company – it will mean a significant improvement in air quality compared to ships currently operating. 

Priority is given to outdoor spaces 

The company responsible for the interior and exterior design has prioritised the outdoor areas. After all, it is a short route with often good weather. Thus, the pleasure of the passengers travelling between the two islands is emphasised. This way they can enjoy the natural environment during the trip. The upper deck can accommodate 390 passengers. There is also a “chill out area” equipped with designer sofas and hammocks and a large bar in the middle. 

Experimental laboratory for green hydrogen 

The shipping company also aims to test the use of green hydrogen, low-carbon energy with which it is already working on various projects. Cap de Barbarià is therefore prepared to install a hydrogen system with a 200-kilowatt cell. This storage capacity can be used for 24 hours and provides 30% of the energy the ship needs. 

The aim is to get to know this fuel in a real project and to apply this knowledge in the medium term when a more mature and stable transport and storage system is available than the current compressed hydrogen. 

 Also read: Eco friendly ferry from Bilbao to Portsmouth

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