Changing to electric propulsion isn’t just a matter of replacing fossil fuel based machinery, a complete rethink of ship design is required to achieve the best outcome. Electric ships need to be as light as possible to be truly efficient. A heavy displacement steel ship requires far more energy than a light displacement aluminium ship.
Removing any unjustified weight within a ship also helps to reduce energy demands. The amount of batteries required can be reduced by lowering the average speed of a vessel. The most efficient electrical ship will be light and sail at medium to low speeds.
These charts compare a known existing modern steel Ro-Pax vessel of 5,000 DWT with an equivalent 5,000 DWT Incat Aluminium Fast Utility Ro-Pax vessel.
The Incat vessel compares favourably with the steel Ro-Pax at two different deadweight capacities across a range of speeds.
These results have been achieved through increased energy efficiency using a holistic approach based on:
- Lightest structural and fitout possible
- Optimised hull design and efficiency
- Minimised hotel and auxiliary loads on board
- Direct drive E-Motor propulsion
A lightweight Incat ship will use up to 40% less power than an equivalent steel ship. This means up to 40% less emissions. A lightweight Incat ship may also convert to Zero Emissions more readily due to its lower power requirements.
Weight & Cost Saving:
- Aluminium is lightweight without sacrificing strength, it’s one third the weight of steel, after design factors the finished weight of an aluminium ship will be HALF that of steel.
- Lower weight ships require less energy for propulsion, offering longer range or faster speed than a steel ship using equivalent battery power.
- Lower weight aluminium saves on material handling costs during construction
- Aluminium vessels require less maintenance due to high corrosion resistance, little to no surface coating means significant savings in time, cost and weight through the ship life cycle compared to steel which requires constant re-painting.
- Less energy use and less pollution.
- Steel re-coating produces copious contaminated waste materials, paint, abrasives, grit blasting, solvents, PPE etc.
- Operates on either LNG, Bio-methane or MGO as supply dictates
- Reduced emissions in line with world’s best practice
- Compliance with stringent IMO environment regulations
- Reduced fuel cost compared to liquid fuels and likely to remain competitive in the future
- Reduced daily maintenance costs
- Energy storage for zero emission alongside
The goal is obvious, but the path is divided. Everyone can agree, that to secure a better future the world needs to reach net zero emissions. But how we get there is a constant evolution in progress.
Incat have always had a clear direction focusing on efficiency and our environment – our company tagline for the past 15 years has been ‘BUILDING THE WORLDS FASTEST, EFFICIENT, ENVIRONMENTALLY CLEAN, HIGH-SPEED SHIPS’.
Building ships using renewable energy, inside the first state of Australia to reach net zero emissions (back in 2013), is a huge step in the right direction. But we are striving for more, with our research and development into electric propulsion and energy storage systems .