Danfoss Editron hybrid drivetrains to power Hamburg ferries

By Becky Schultz11 October 2022

Danfoss Power Solutions’ Editron division will provide drivetrain systems for three hybrid passenger ferries that will operate in Hamburg, Germany. (Rendering: Danfoss)

Danfoss Power Solutions’ Editron division, which specializes in hybrid and electric powertrain systems, has been selected to provide drivetrain solutions for three passenger ferries that will operate on the Elbe River in Hamburg, Germany. All three vessels will feature serial hybrid propulsion systems.

The vessels will be built by German shipyard Schiffbau- u. Entwicklungsgesellschaft Tangermünde mbH (SET) on behalf of Hamburg transportation company Hadag, bringing its fleet to 29 ships. The vessels’ propulsion systems will include Editron designed and manufactured drivetrains incorporating shore connection, battery storage and propulsion and AC network feeding power modules, all of which are connected by a compact DC link with patented selectivity for high system safety, Danfoss said.

The Editron synchronous reluctance-assisted permanent magnet generator will be connected to a Scania diesel engine to create a variable-speed gen-set that can be used to charge batteries or as backup propulsion. Two electric eVSP9 Voith Schneider thrusters will turn the electric energy into efficient thrust combined with high maneuverability, said Danfoss. 

All three vessels will feature serial hybrid propulsion systems, including drivetrains designed and manufactured by Danfoss’ Editron division. (Rendering: Danfoss)

“These vessels will be designed to ensure safe operation in Hamburg’s city center, which includes making multiple stops every hour and navigating the tidal conditions of the Elbe River. They will also efficiently utilize the hybrid-electric propulsion technology while driving at full speed and berthing throughout the whole harbor area,” said Martin Lobmeyer, technical director at Hadag.

“Our drivetrain is one of the most compact and lightweight solutions on today’s market, easily fitting into a vessel’s machinery room and enabling more space for passengers,” said Sascha Nitz, marine sales manager in Danfoss’ Editron division. “The high efficiency of our system also optimizes battery capacity on board to fit the desired operational profile.”

The first of the three ferries, which will be capable of carrying up to 250 passengers, is scheduled for delivery in 2024, with the remaining vessels expected to follow later that year. In addition to their existing hybrid propulsion systems, the vessels will be capable of integrating hydrogen fuel cell technology, allowing for zero-emission operation in the future.

Hadag also has an option to order a further three ferries equipped with fuel cell technology. The system could potentially be retrofitted on the city’s existing passenger ferry fleet, as well.

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