Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Iconic Ferry Gets Eco Refurbishment to Continue Service

First Electric Passenger Boat in Finland Also One of its Oldest
Shipping News Feature
FINLAND – The oldest operating ferry in Finland is starting its new lease of life after the vessel underwent a comprehensive refurbishment to change its drivetrain. Again.

The Föri initially entered service in 1904, after the City of Turku commissioned local shipyards Aktiebolaget Vulcan to build a city commuter ferry to take passengers across the Aura River to Åbo. Originally built as a steamship the vessel was converted to run on diesel some years later and has now been converted to electric propulsion, making it the first all-electric passenger vessel in Finland.

The distinctive little orange boat has traversed its route nonstop back and forth across the river for more than a century providing free transportation for the towns folk and visitors and has become a beloved icon for the city. The authorities in Turku commissioned local boatyard Mobimar to complete the upgrade, where the vessel was dry-docked in March this year. Mobimar oversaw the removal of the boat’s diesel-powered hydraulic motor and the old control system. The new installed system was eight tons lighter; consisting of two Visedo permanent magnet motor drives and two Visedo DC/DC converters which control the ferry’s DC grid.

The new vessel draws power from batteries that are charged overnight, with the new power system simultaneously improving redundancy and making it possible to run on one or two motors – particularly important during icy conditions. This also allows future motor maintenance in shifts, with no interruption to operation. Visedo Project Engineer Heikki Sallinen said:

“The Föri ferry is a national treasure but with its old diesel engine, fuel consumption and emissions were high and overall efficiency poor. Visedo power brings the 100-year-old vessel into the 21st century without changing its character and delivers zero-emission transport for Turku.

“The revolution to electrify the world’s diesel transport is already underway. After powering Asia’s first hybrid electric ferry in Taiwan and continuing to work on the project to power the world’s biggest E-ferry in Denmark, at home Visedo is proud to help transform Finland’s oldest ferry into its first all-electric vessel.”