In the JOULES project Damen will study the “Urban Ferry”. The Water Bus 3007 is in consideration. This Water Bus is used for public transport and can carry up to 130 people. It features a large open deck area to carry bicycles and other items. The ferry has a length of just over 30 meters and a beam of just over 7 meters. The ship has a service speed of 21 knots. Because of the extremely narrow hulls of the catamaran, minimal wash is created which minimizes disturbance to other vessels as the Water Bus passes.

Urban Ferries such as the Water Bus 3007 traditionally have a propulsion installation consisting of two propulsion diesel engines which drive two fixed pitch propellers through two gearboxes. This configuration is therefore chosen as the baseline concept for the JOULES project.

2025 Ship Concept

The 2025 concept design selected for detailed analysis in the JOULES project is a further evolution of the existing Urban Ferry concept. The required power to reach the relatively high top speed will be delivered by gas engines which have the advantage of reducing emissions considerably. One of the challenges lies in the on-board storage and distribution of the alternative fuel, which is not evident on board of an Urban Ferry. The fact that LNG-driven city buses are operated around the globe inspires to succeed this challenging ship development.

The gas engines, combined with the optimisation of other on-board systems and strict control of the weight of the new concept will result in a considerable reduction of emissions.

2050 Ship Concept

The 2050 concept design is based on the desire to operate without burning any fossil fuel. The foreseen increase of power and energy density of energy storage devices towards 2050, combined with relatively short distances between the stops of the Water Bus has led to the concept of a fully electrical driven ferry. While passengers are embarking or disembarking, the ferry connects to the onshore electricity grid to charge the on-board energy storage devices. While sailing, the electric propulsion motors are fed by these energy storage devices which carry sufficient energy to reach the next stop. The result is a zero emission ferry.

The main challenges in this concept lie in the trade-off between low required ship weight, in combination with the relatively high weight of currently available energy storage devices. Also the relatively short time in which the energy storage devices need to be charged is challenging.