Ship Emissions Can Be Reduced By 97.5% If We Switch To Electric Vessels

A study published by The Royal Institute of Technology based in Stockholm states that emissions from vessels could be lowered by about 97.5% by shifting from diesel vessels to a new electric hydrofoil model that will soon be launched in Stockholm in 2023. The Region of Stockholm will witness a sea trial for the longest-range and fastest electric ferry to date, Candela P-12 Shuttle, the first hydrofoil passenger vessel in the world.

Besides being supremely fast and extremely comfortable, a study published by Stockholm’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology suggests that vessels operating on electric hydrofoil technology could lower emissions from marine transport by 97.5% compared to the current diesel vessels. Domestic shipping emitted in Sweden was about 680,000 tonnes of Co2 in 2020, more than domestic flights, trains, and buses combined.

The nation’s top-notch technical university, KTH, has compared the Candela P-12 Shuttle with the diesel-powered vessels of the city in an advanced life cycle analysis. The research examines the various phases of the product’s life; raw material extraction, manufacturing, and use degree until the product is no longer used and must be disposed of or recycled. The study reflects that over a lifetime of three decades, the carbon footprint of a Candela P-12 Shuttle is about 97.5% lower than that of the compared diesel vessels.

Electric Vessel
Credits: Candela

Per the authors, the study is the first to highlight the difference in environmental impacts between electric hydrofoils and traditional ferries. It also reflects that electric-flying ferries play a vital role in the switch to more sustainable forms of maritime transport.

Using hydrofoils and being powered by electricity is the primary factor in lowering emissions. And as Sweden’s electricity grid is nearly free of carbon dioxide emissions, such type of vessel has an advantage, explains Felix Glaunsinger, one of the authors associated with the study.

The hydrofoil technology indicates that the boat is lifted on wings that ’fly’ underwater, lowering water resistance from pushing the hull through the water. Hydrofoils decrease energy consumption by about 80% compared to conventional vessels.

When the 30-knot Candela P-12 gets into the sea trials next year, it will be the fastest electric vessel in the world and the fastest passenger vessel in Stockholm’s public transport fleet.

With a range of approximately 60 nautical miles, it can reportedly cover the archipelago’s long routes. As the flying ferry does not create any wake, the city has granted it an exemption from the speed limits, reducing the travel times from 25 minutes to 55 minutes on the maiden route from Ekerö to Stockholm (central).

The KTH study highlights that the Candela P-12 Shuttle has a relatively low carbon footprint from production when compared to the diesel ferries already scrutinized – an exciting finding, as other electric vehicles, like cars, tend to have a relatively heavier carbon footprint due to production than fossil-fuel-driven equivalents owing to the severe negative impact of manufacturing batteries.

Just like aircraft, the vessels are made to be as light as possible to help increase the number of passengers and performance. A bright side of the impact is that we can use smaller batteries and lesser raw material, which means a reduced negative climate impact, says Erik Eklund, the head of commercial vessels of Candela.

Globally, vessels account for approximately 3% of greenhouse gasses, comparable to the worldwide aviation industry’s emissions.

Emissions are expected to go up over the coming years despite the International Maritime Organisation’s ambition to cut vessels’ carbon intensity by about 40% by 2030.

References: Travel Daily Media, ABC Columbia

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