LMG Marin will deliver two battery hybrid ferries for London's Woolwich Ferry crossing. Photo © LMG Marin

Bergen companies team up on London electric ferry project

Companies from Bergen have worked together to deliver a pair of new, high tech ferries that will operate on London’s River Thames.

The two new hybrid electric vessels will serve the busy Woolwich Ferry route across the Thames, used by just over a million vehicles and 2.6 million passengers every year.       

The ferries, Ben Woollacott and Dame Vera Lynn, were designed by Bergen‑based LMG Marin and built by Remontowa shipyard in Poland.

Norwegian Electric Systems (NES) delivered the hybrid electric systems for the project, while Corvus Norway AS provided the ships’ battery packages.

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The new ferries will be able to hold up to 150 passengers each, with 210m for cars and trucks along with dedicated cycle spaces – representing 14% more space for passengers and vehicles compared to their predecessors.

Due to their hybrid nature, they’ll also be able to operate within the city’s strict Low Emissions Zone.  

The ferries will begin operations in early 2019, replacing the current fleet of vessels that have been in operation for 53 years. 

The two hybrid electric ferries are suitable for use within London’s strict Low Emissions Zone.

“An excellent solution”

Torbjørn Bringedal, managing director for LMG Marin, explains that battery hybrid vessels such as these are particularly suited to short river crossings.

The battery system kicks into action when the ships need extra power, ensuring a smoother operation and reducing the load on the ferries’ diesel engines.

The ships’ dual power systems are also expected to deliver fuel savings of more than 15% compared to a diesel‑only vessel.

Overall, Bringedal describes this as an “excellent solution” for this route across London’s main waterway.

Clean shipping success

It should come as no surprise that Norwegian companies have played a key role in delivering the first‑ever hybrid electric ferries to London’s River Thames.

The country is currently a world‑leader in this field, with more than 60 battery hybrid ferries expected to serve Norway’s waterways by the year 2020.

The nation also made headlines when it introduced the world’s first fully‑electric ferry, the MS Ampere, to the fjord region in 2015.

The MS Ampere is the world’s first fully-electric, zero-emissions ferry.

Norway’s clean shipping industry is being spurred on by the work of innovation clusters such as NCE Maritime CleanTech.

The cluster has contributed to developing new, greener ferry designs, and is also working on cleaner solutions for cruise liners and container ships.

This is a vital goal, as the world shipping industry has acknowledged the need to cut its carbon emissions in half by the year 2050.


Find out more about Bergen’s maritime cleantech industry



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