According to the Scottish government, Ferguson Shipbuilders won a $32 million (£20 million) contract to build the world’s first hybrid ferries. So far we’ve certainly seen similar “eco-friendly” ships such as the New York City based Hornblower Hybrid or a planned solar passenger ferry in China.
Unlike hybrid vehicles that can recover energy from the brakes, this new type of hybrid oceangoing ships can be propelled by a hybrid system of diesel electric and battery power. This way, the carbon emissions are significantly reduced.
“The two new ferries will come into operation in 2013. The deal will not only secure around 75 existing jobs in the Port of Glasgow and Inverclyde area, but create around 100 more.In addition, we expect Ferguson Shipbuilders to create around 20 new apprenticeships directly as a result of this contract,” said Alex Neil, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure & Capital Investment.
The ships will carry vehicles and passengers on many of the short crossing routes around the Hebrides and Clyde.
Being able to reach a speed of nine knots, the two ferries will each accommodate 23 cars and 150 passengers. The vessels will be powered by a small diesel generator, feeding power to a 400-volt switchboard. The battery banks will provide around 20% of the energy to operate the vessel.
As the officials claim, the future hybrid ferries will also use wind, wave or solar systems to charge the batteries.