Cleaner Passage

by Hans Diederichs

Freudenberg Batteries Will Power Ferry traffic

In an agreement that will help lower ship emissions in the critical waters separating England and France, XALT Energy, a Freudenberg company, will supply high performance battery systems. XALT Energy has been selected by ABB Marine & Ports as the supplier of the battery system to power two ferries being built by British ferry company, P&O.

The battery systems will provide an output of 8,816 kWh per ship to the ferries. The agreement includes an option to equip two additional ships with XALT Energy batteries. The two ferries are expected to operate regularly between Dover, England and Calais, France as of 2023. P&O operates a total of 20 ships which also travel regularly between England, Scotland and Ireland in addition to the above-mentioned route. More than nine million passengers are transported on these ships every year.

The ships are built at the Guangzhou shipyard in China. ABB Marine and Ports will support this project and oversee the system integration as well as provide the electric propulsion systems. The first ship is scheduled for delivery by December 2021. The second ship will follow in April 2022. As of 2023, the two ferries will start regular service between the cities of Dover and Calais.

Approximately 1,200 batteries installed throughout the ship

The two ferries will be electrified with XALT Energy’s high-performance batteries, which means they will be powered by one of the largest battery installations in the marine industry worldwide. Each ferry’s battery system will include approximately 1,200 batteries that will be networked and installed in equal proportions in four battery rooms throughout the ship.

The lithium-ion batteries will be housed in multiple cabinets that are part of the XALT Energy XRS-2 rack system. The XRS-2 s is a highly configurable rack system that was uniquely designed to accommodate XALT battery system components used for ship applications. The racks meet the strictest regulatory requirements and withstand the toughest corrosive marine environments with minimal weight and size.

“We very much appreciate the performance and modularity of XALT battery systems in combination with an outstanding durability”, said Jostein Bogen, Vice President, Global Product Manager Energy Storage & Fuel Cells at ABB Marine & Ports. “Also for future projects we will rely on XALT's battery systems. I look forward to working closely with XALT Energy to further electrify the maritime world,” Bogen continues.

The batteries are designed to support the diesel engines and enable emission-free maneuvering in the port as well as allowing the 230-meter ship to dock and depart emission-free. This protects the environment and offers significant reductions in fuel costs when combined with diesel-electric propulsion powertrains. “The future of shipping will be emission-free, quiet and powered solely by either battery electricity or hybrid battery-fuel cell systems,” predicted Nils Martens, Manager of Battery and Fuel Cell Systems at Freudenberg Sealing Technologies. “Freudenberg can offer both types of systems to the marine industry and they will provide customers with exceptional power, stability and performance.”

Unique depth of value creation at the company

Freudenberg Sealing Technologies is focused on developing emission-free, heavy duty propulsion solutions that are economically viable for the commercial transportation industry including ships. The company has already launched major projects in the past year with important bus and cruise ship partners including Newflyer, FlixBus and Meyer Werft. “Clean fuels are expensive, which is why electricity is becoming an increasingly attractive energy source,” Martens said.

XALT Energy, a part of Freudenberg since December 2018, is based in Midland, Michigan (USA), produces large-scale lithium-ion systems and also has its own cell production facility. XALT’s batteries are already being used in city buses in places such as New York and Los Angeles.

Freudenberg strategically supplemented this expertise during 2018 by also acquiring the fuel cell manufacturer Elcore. The acquisition has enabled Freudenberg to offer customers holistic systems competence as well as value creation in the core components of fuel cells. Together, these groups have enabled the company to gain a unique position in the market for alternative or electric drives with the two future technologies of batteries and fuel cells.

Source and graphic: Freudenberg

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