Finnish technology group Wärtsilä has completed testing of its automatic wireless induction charging system on a hybrid powered coastal ferry, in Norwegian waters, in early September.
The 85 metre long ‘MF Folgefonn’, owned by Norled, is the first commercial ferry in the world operating with high power wireless charging capability for its batteries, marking a step in the evolution of plug-in electrically operated vessels, the company said.
As explained, wireless charging eliminates the cable connection between the vessel and shore, thereby securing and facilitating safe connections and disconnections. It also reduces maintenance since wear and tear to physical connection lines is eliminated.
The Wärtsilä system is based on inductive power transfer, capable of transferring more than a MW of electrical energy. It is designed to maintain efficient power transfer at distances of 50 centimetres between the two charging plates built into the side of the vessel and the quay.
“There is an ongoing trend to equip coastal ferries with battery powered and hybrid propulsion since they are particularly affected by environmental regulatory demands. Wireless charging will, therefore, create considerable value for operators of hybrid ferries,” says Ingve Sørfonn, Senior Technical Officer E&A, Wärtsilä Marine Solutions.