The ferry Bryggen has won the KNVTS Ship of the Year Award 2021 for its innovative, fully electric and environmentally friendly design that is also efficient in operation and economically competitive. Shipbuilder Damen Shipyards achieved the ship’s sustainable credentials through a series of innovative digital shipbuilding technologies.

These innovative technologies include the possibility of remote monitoring using an extensive network of sensors. This results in improved efficiency and a reduction of maintenance-induced downtime. The ferry is capable of carrying eighty people.

To meet the design criterion “fully emission-free propulsion”, electrical propulsion was chosen, using batteries as the energy source. No generators have been installed. The choice of batteries is based on the length of the route and the availability of three battery charging stations. The ship’s innovative mooring system is fully automatic to maximise charging time, reliability and safety. The charging system is automatically connected to the shore-based power supply during mooring, using an in-house developed system.

Due to the choice of batteries, the total battery capacity is fairly small, which saves weight and space. This results in a complex installation for sailing/discharging and mooring/charging, for which Damen not only provided the ship design, but also designed and realised the shore-based infrastructure for charging the batteries. To properly monitor and control the process of mooring and charging, a newly developed control system was chosen.

Everything can be controlled and monitored from the bridge. The entire energy and drive system has been thoroughly tested in a shore-mounted test setup prior to installation. This has minimised teething problems after installation.

The ferry has a robust steel hull with an optimised design (flared bow, dry transom and high length to beam ratio) to minimise resistance. The bow is ice-strengthened and features a bow thruster for high manoeuvrability in windy conditions. The design meets the stability and safety requirements of both the flag state and class requirements and makes great strides towards zero-emission operation. In this way, it reduces the total NOX and CO2 emissions of public transport in Copenhagen.

Prior to the design of the Bryggen, a thorough analysis of various concepts was carried out, leading to a design that performs well economically and exceeds the environmental performance requirements set by the client, who demanded “only” partial electric operation. To achieve this, Damen used systems from the automotive industry, thus realising an important technological cross-over. As energy source, lithium titanium oxide batteries are used. Until now, such batteries were not certified for use in ships. With the Bryggen, an important new energy carrier has therefore been unlocked for the sector.

Because Damen has also chosen not to build it as a one-off, but as the basis for a new product family, the impact of the design goes beyond “just” Copenhagen. Soon, the first of Bryggen’s sisters will appear on Dutch waterways.

Other nominees

Like the Bryggen, the other two nominees were also electric ferries, the Düsternbrook and NZK-100 both built by Holland Shipyards Group.

Foot passenger ferry Düsternbrook was designed and built for the Kiel port area on behalf of Schlepp- und Fährgesellschaft Kiel (SFK). The ship can carry 140 passengers and sixty bicycles and forms an important link between the city centre and the college and residential areas on the other side of the Kieler Förde. An important design criterion is that the ferry must be able to sail emission-free (electric) for ten hours a day. It is optimised for speeds below 8 knots, as a maximum speed of 5 knots applies for most of the route.

The NZK-100 is the first ferry in a series of five, specially designed for the Amsterdam municipal transport company GVB to connect the north and south sides of the North Sea Canal. The ferry has a capacity of twenty cars and 400 passengers. Through a smart movable partition, these capacities can be adjusted according to demand, leading to a maximum capacity of 1200 pedestrians.

Both the crossing and mooring/embarkation/debarkation take only a few minutes. The drive train is fully electric, with the necessary power being supplied by batteries that are charged once per return journey on the north side of the canal. Due to the short embarkation/debarkation period, charging has to effectively take place in approximately 130 seconds. This results in extremely high charging currents to get the required energy into the batteries.

Read more about the other nominees in our previous news article: Three electric ferries vie for KNVTS Ship of the Year Award 2021

KNVTS Ship of the Year

Ships that qualify for the Maritime Award: KNVTS Ship of the Year 2021 must – especially with regard to innovative aspects – have been developed in the Netherlands, have preferably been built (for at least a large part) in the Netherlands and must have been delivered between 1 May 2019 and 30 April 2021 (two years this time as the 2020 edition of the award was cancelled as a result of the pandemic). The jury will assess the submitted ships against the criteria Design, Economy, Sustainability and Environment, Safety and Construction Process. The winner was announced at the Maritime Awards Gala on 1 November in De Doelen, Rotterdam.

Also read: Low-emission Sendo Liner Becomes KNVTS Ship of the Year 2019