Battery Powered Air Supported Commuter Vessel

May 22, 2016 by Jeff Shepard

The world's fastest Air Supported Vessel (ASV), fully powered by a Leclanché lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS), has been launched at Latitude Yachts in Riga, Latvia. The "BB Green" is the result of a five-year long EU-project. The vessel holds up to 70 passengers plus bikes, operates at a speed of 30 knots (56km/h) and is the first of its kind; it will initially be used for demonstration purposes across Europe.

The ASV technology reduces water resistance by having the ship operate on an air cushion. A battery powered fan in the bow injects pressurized air into a cavity under the ship and supports some 80 percent of the vessel’s displacement. The resistance is reduced by 40 percent at high speed, which makes it possible for the 25-ton ship to reach a speed of 30 knots propelled by 2 x 280kW electric motors.

BB Green includes a 200kWh LTO energy storage system enabling it to operate at high speed for over 30 minutes with a 14 nautical mile (26 km) range. At each stop, it benefits from ultra-fast charging for 15-20 minutes. This makes BB Green the “the world’s fastest electric commuter vessel” – perfect for commuting on inland waterways from outer suburbs to the city center.

Mr. Antti Väyrynen, vice president of Leclanché highlights the importance of this project, “Full electrification of passenger ferries will reduce local emissions and provide silent and comfortable transportation on waterways. As the leading manufacturer of lithium-ion battery systems in Europe, Leclanché is proud to have contributed to this very innovative project as the integrated battery system supplier.”

BB Green is the result of a European project which involved 8 main partners: SES Europe / Effect Ships International, Norway (Hull technology and design); Latitude Yachts, Latvia (Construction); Echandia Marine, Sweden (System integration); Leclanché, Switzerland (Energy storage systems); SSPA, Sweden (Tank testing and documentation); Lloyd’s Register (Safety and classification); Diab, Sweden (Composite material and engineering); and Aqualiner, the Netherlands (End user partner).

BB Green will make its first “road show” from Riga to Stockholm, through the canal to Gothenburg and then on to Oslo. The ship is owned by SES Europe together with Green City Ferries, who will operate the ship on its maiden voyage. Currently, Leclanché is supplying a 4.3 MWh turnkey energy storage system to the world’s largest electric ferry which will be launched in Denmark in 2017.