Saft announced that it won a contract with Imtech Marine for an 800 kWh battery combining two Seanergy systems for the new hybrid-electric ferry owned by CMAL in Scotland. Imtech Marine hopes for up to 30% better fuel economy, which will be verified after deliveries planed for the second half of this year.

"Two Saft Seanergy® systems will be at the heart of the diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system and energy management system for ‘Hybrid III’, the Roll On Roll Off (RORO) passenger and vehicle ferry designed for use on Scotland’s short sea crossing routes around the Clyde and Hebrides. The new vessel, currently under construction by Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd for CMAL (Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd), will be Scotland’s third hybrid ferry when it enters service in autumn 2016, carrying up to 150 passengers and 23 cars or two HGVs (Heavy Goods Vehicles). It is being funded by the Scottish Government to help meet the target set in its Climate Change Delivery Plan to reduce CO2 emissions in the transport sector by at least 20 percent by 2020. It will have a service speed of nine knots and because it uses both diesel and electric power, its fuel consumption will be significantly lower than a conventional ferry, leading to fuel and CO2 emissions that are at least one fifth lower than a conventional arrangement."

Imtech Marine is supplying hybrid propulsion systems for all types of vessels and Saft hopes that this first deal will pave the way for more orders in the future. Hybrid-electric ferry is some kind of extended-range electric car counterpart. In the case of Saft, batteries are Lithium Iron Phosphate type with marketing name Super Phosphate (SLFP).

"As a modular system, Seanergy® can be scaled to meet any requirements up to 750 V. The modules are based on Saft’s Li-ion Super Phosphate (SLFP) cell chemistry, which offers the advantage of improved high energy capability and optimized total cost of ownership when compared with standard Li-ion phosphate technologies. In January 2015, marine industry independent safety assessor Bureau Veritas delivered the highest quality assessment for the Seanergy modules, establishing that the design conforms to recognised industry quality and certification standards. The two Seanergy® systems, which provide a total of 800 kWh of energy storage, can power the vessel in battery mode only and in hybrid mode in combination with a diesel generator. The batteries will be charged overnight from shore supply while the ferry is in port. When at sea, Imtech’s energy management system will balance the energy delivered by the diesel genset and battery systems to make propulsion as efficient and clean as possible, enabling the genset to run at peak efficiency."

Jayesh Vir, Saft’s Key Account Manager for the Marine Segment said:

“Interest in hybrid propulsion is growing fast in the maritime sector as ship owners and operators come under pressure to meet more stringent energy efficiency targets. This contract for a very high profile ferry service in Scotland is further confirmation that Saft’s Li-ion technology offers a reliable, high performance and fully commercialized solution for hybrid propulsion on even the largest sea-going vessels.”

Here is video on one of the other hybrid-electric ferry: