The idea of sustainability among Ferry Boat companies and passengers surfaced a few years ago. Prior to that, most operators did not take into consideration the environmental impact, as the primary concern was always the cost of fares.
However, at present, sustainability is top-of-mind to everyone involved in the ferry industry. With new government legislation, customers express concerns on how ship operations impact the environment and what are the potentially negative effects of such measures for operating costs of ferry companies. Several ferry companies launched innovative projects with positive environmental results and the concept is now gaining public support through media exposure.
In recent years, the use of electric vessels as a substitute for zero-emission operations, primarily in short-sea shipping, has gained attention due to a wave of strict environmental regulations. For example, for fixed-route ferry boats, electric technology can provide significant benefits such as eliminating onboard emissions to the atmosphere, reducing noise and vibration, and complying with increasingly stringent regulations in operations and ports.
Greece has great potential for utilizing renewable energy to power electric ferries. Over recent years, progress reports suggest the feasibility of ferry-boat construction in the country.
Below is a timeline of a few events that shows the developments made in ferry-boat construction in Greece:
The first electric boat project in Greece was developed in collaboration between the municipalities of AIGIO and Agios Nikolaos DORIDOS, as well as several universities and the Norwegian classification society DNV GL.
The cost of the electric ship is estimated at EUR 4–5 million and will come from the conversion of a conventional ship. The program is partially funded by EU funds.
For the electric ship to have the least impact possible, a hybrid power system with simultaneous coexistence of photovoltaic, wave and wind is to be installed.
Greece’s Saronic Ferries announced a partnership with C-Job Naval Architects to develop the design of the country’s first fully-electric RoPax ferry. So far, electric ferries have primarily been deployed on short-sea and coastal routes.
The ferry’s design incorporates a number of environmentally friendly elements, including fully electric propulsion. In addition, the vessel could travel in more extreme weather and sea conditions across the Aegean from Piraeus to the islands as it is larger in size compared to the majority of current electric ferries.
According to the design, the RoPax would be 279 feet long with a 52-foot beam. It could carry up to 800 people, has space for up to 55 cars and even move 85 vehicles or six trucks combined.
The Norwegian classification society DNV GL signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Saronic Ferries at the Posidonia 2022 trade fair to enable the development of an electric ferry for local deployment in Greece. The partnership is aimed at developing a fully electric concept for use on short sea passenger routes in the Argosaronikos bay region.
The above are just a few of many examples in Greece, working hard to mitigate the impact of its ships on the environment. In fact, the sheer number of initiatives being undertaken by the industry is quite remarkable, especially given that they have the potential to have a long-lasting positive impact on operators, clients, and the environment.
Greece has a significant amount of fixed and floating offshore wind and solar power resources. Combining these offers the opportunity to create a new “Greek green corridor,” which would not only decarbonize the fleet but also foster local expertise and new business opportunities.
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