Danfoss Editron drivetrains for Hong Kong hybrid-electric ferries

Danfoss Power Solutions’ Editron division has been commissioned by Cheoy Lee Shipyard to deliver the hybrid-electric marine drivetrain system for two new hybrid-electric ferries that will carry passengers in and out of the Hong Kong, one of the world’s busiest harbor cities.

Two of the new ferries will be powered by an integrated marine solution supplied by Danfoss’ Editron division. (Photo: Danfoss)

Hong Kong ferries serve as an essential transportation mode, carrying 18 million passengers annually. To achieve net zero by 2050, the city government plans to decarbonize its transport sector by electrifying both vehicles and ferries. It has earmarked funding to replace existing diesel-powered ferries with hybrid and electric alternatives from 2025 onward.

Part of this funding will be used for Cheoy Lee Shipyard’s new 35- and 40-meter high-speed catamarans, each of which will be capable of carrying up to 450 passengers at a speed of 23 knots. Two of these new ferries will be hybrid-electric and powered by an integrated marine solution supplied by Danfoss’ Editron division.

A parallel hybrid DC-link grid system will power each hybrid-electric ferry. The power system consists of two Editron permanent magnet motors, two Cummins QSK50 main engines, four sets of power batteries totaling 311.2 kW and multiple frequency converters. The motors can switch between the two operating modes of power generation, Danfoss Editron noted, enabling the ferries to run on zero-emission electric propulsion when sailing in the emission control area, then switch to diesel power outside this area. The excess power from the main diesel engine will generate electricity to charge the battery and supply hotel loads, the company said. The ferries will also be able to operate in zero-emission mode during maneuvering and berthing.

 “These ferries will be the first in Hong Kong to feature our DC-link grid system, and we’re looking forward to demonstrating the full potential of the technology,” Chao Wang, head of Editron sales and business development China, Danfoss Power Solutions, said. “Our compact and lightweight marine system can achieve maximum efficiencies of up to 98% while reducing operation and maintenance costs and saving space in a vessel’s engine room.”

He added that advanced software is used to control and optimize the powertrain’s individual components to enable more efficient management of power distribution and better handling of the vessel. 

“As a shipyard with a long history, we’re pleased to see that the energy-saving and emission reduction potential offered by electric propulsion will have a huge impact on the future of Hong Kong’s marine industry,” said Martin Lo, director, Cheoy Lee Shipyard. “We will work closely with Danfoss’ Editron division to develop the local electrification market and provide excellent quality ships to our customers.”

The two hybrid-electric ferries are expected to be delivered to their owner by the middle of 2024.


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