A historic wooden ferry that has undergone a hybrid conversion will be part of the G7 summit in Cornwall, UK.

'Kingsley II'

'Kingsley II' has been retrofitted with a hybrid engine. Photo: REAPsystems

Fal River Cornwall’s (Cornwall Ferries Ltd) 1934-built Kingsley II was modernised by engineers from REAPsystems, supported by battery manufacturer GS Yuasa as part of the Innovate UK-supported HEVIMA (Hybrid Electrical Vessel propulsion with Integrated Motor Assist) project.

Chairman of Fal River Cornwall, Tim Smithies, said: “We have found passengers enjoyed the quieter engine operation and also were fascinated by these steps we are taking to address the UK zero carbon goals in the marine sector.”

Important for cutting carbon

The HEVIMA project, led by REAPsystems, used the ferry as a test bed for a new electric and diesel hybrid engine backed with lithium-ion batteries. This is the first hybrid diesel electric engine to be retro-installed on a passenger ferry of this scale in the UK.

GS Yuasa worked with the project teams to deliver a safe battery suitable for marine integration and approved by Lloyds Register and the Maritime & Coastguard Agency for commercial use. The Kingsley II also features a HEID Antriebstechni bespoke clutch that connects directly to the engine, saving space.

Following the installation, the ferry was successfully commercially operated in the summer of 2019 along the River Fal between the ports of St Mawes and Trelissick.

The propulsion system operates on electric power in the Special Area of Conservation in St Mawes and in the upper reaches of the Fal, reducing carbon emissions and noise pollution.

From 9 June, during the G7 conference the Kingsley II will be alongside in Falmouth and available to the press and VIPs for demonstrations and cruises. There will also be interview opportunities with key stakeholders.

By Rebecca Jeffrey