Damen embarks on Danish full electric public transport project for Arriva

Damen Shipyards Group recently signed a contract with leading multinational public transport company Arriva Danmark for five fully-electric ferries, known as the Damen Ferry 2306 E3. Damen E3 vessels are designed with the philosophy of being environmentally friendly, efficient in operation and economically viable. Arriva will operate the ferries for its client, Danish public transport agency MOVIA, in the country’s capital city Copenhagen.

Both Damen and Arriva share a common vision of reducing the environmental footprint of public transportation via utilisation of innovative technology. Equally, both parties place great importance on the customer experience in terms of safety, reliability and comfort.

For the tender process of this contract, Damen’s in-house engineering team conducted extensive studies into the best possible solution for the operation in question. A key feature was environmental performance. To this end, Damen considered biodiesel, hybrid and full electric solutions. Unsurprisingly, a zero emissions, fully electric solution offered the best results in terms of sustainability. It also transpired that, over the twelve year period of the contract, this was the most cost-efficient solution.

Another crucial requirement was that the new vessels be able to fit into the existing framework – including use of current timetables and infrastructure, as well as capacity to carry at least 60 passengers. To fulfil this, Damen has developed a design with a capacity for 80 passengers, tailored so that the vessels can dock – bow first – at the existing jetties.

At the jetties at each end of the route, Damen will install fast charging points. These will apply solutions already proven in land public transport solutions. Charging, which will take place with each voyage, will take just seven minutes.

On board comfort was also an important factor. The ferries, without diesel engines, offer very low noise and vibrations. The passenger area – low in the water for wind protection – features very large windows, while the roof is also glazed. The wheelhouse has been raised to the highest possible position so as to provide operators with the optimal viewpoint.

Naturally, for vessels that are required to carry up to 80 passengers – both commuters and tourists – sixteen hours a day, reliability was of the utmost importance. Fortunately, Damen has a proven track record in fully electric solutions. To further ensure reliability, Damen has developed a robust, steel-hulled ferry with strong fenders. These features, combined with the electric propulsion, guarantee lowest possible maintenance requirements.

The design benefits from Damen’s in-house R&D and Innovation programme, which has delivered numerous maritime innovations over the years. Recent examples include hybrid and electric road ferries and participation in the production of the world’s first Class approved 3D-printed propeller. Another example is Remote Monitoring – a useful tool on sustainable, efficient operations such as this, to monitor use of fuel and upcoming maintenance requirements amongst other things.

Mr. Torben Hansen, Director Bus of Arriva Danmark, said, “This is third consecutive occasion that Arriva has secured the contract to provide this service to the City of Copenhagen. We are very proud and honored to play our part in assisting the city as it strives to meet its target of zero emissions in public transport in the coming years. This new vessel order is perfectly aligned with our role at the forefront of the switch from diesel to electric power. Damen has proven to be the right partner for this project. Their experience with fully electric vessels has positioned them well to support and advise us in our mission to provide the city of Copenhagen with clean, safe, reliable and cost effective transportation.”

Martin Verstraaten, Damen Sales Manager, said, “Throughout the tender process, the collaboration between all parties has been excellent. Combining Arriva’s operational knowledge with our shipbuilding experience has delivered a design that answers all the needs of this project; a zero emissions, low maintenance solution that offers real value for money.”