Shanghai supercharged

by | 6th June 2023 | Ship & Boat International - News, Commercial Shipping

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Shanghai's supercharged electric ferry

Xin Sheng Tai: Shanghai’s supercharged solution for short-hop ferry runs

Late 2022 saw the delivery of Xin Sheng Tai, an electric ferry designed by the Shanghai Merchant Ship Design & Research Institute (SDARI) and built by Yaguang Technology Group. The ferry will provide public transport to commuters between Changxing Island and Hengsha Island, on the Yangtze River estuary, with a remit for 24 round trips daily. Xin Sheng Tai measures 65m x 14.5m and 4.3m in depth, has a design draught of 2.5m and can carry up to 165 passengers and 30 cars (or 14 trucks). “The 2km crossing takes about six minutes,” SDARI tells Ship & Boat International.

Key to the ferry’s power is a 625kWh supercapacitor system, which will be the main source for both onboard and propulsive electric power. Typically, batteries provide more energy over a longer period of time: sometimes, up to 10x as much as a supercapacitor. However, supercapacitors deliver their energy around 10x quicker than batteries do – and, given Xin Sheng Tai’s relatively short crossings, SDARI decided that this energy source would be the better option.

Supercapacitors also tend to have low internal resistance and do not generate as much as heat as batteries do following a short circuit. SDARI says: “With the rapid charge-discharge rate, high power density and virtually unlimited lifecycles, no replacement of the supercapacitor is required. Accurate monitoring and control of the energy can be achieved as the supercapacitors have performance of linear charge and discharge voltage.”

“The supercapacitor has four groups of batteries, and comprises 60 capacitor modules combined,” says Xue Bing, the ferry’s chief engineer. “Each module has 360 single capacitor cells, and there are 21,600 single cells in total. If a fault occurs, the service provider can obtain data remotely, communicate with us in time and guide us to correct the fault.”

Cummins supplied Xin Sheng Tai’s twin K19-DM diesel-electric engines, each rated 507kW. These turn 1,385mm-diameter fixed-pitch propellers for a service speed of 10knots and a top speed of 11.8knots. The ferry will recharge via a quayside DC fast-charging system at Changxing Island. “This system offers continuous charging power up to 2.5MW during the boarding and loading period,” says SDARI. In an additional move to reduce energy consumption, SDARI ran CFD calculations and model testing at the Shanghai Ship and Shipping Research Institute (SSSRI), to optimise the ferry’s hull lines. As a result, Xin Sheng Tai could cut 1,000tonnes of CO yearly compared to an equivalent-sized diesel-powered vessel, SDARI estimates. The vessel also carries twin diesel gensets for emergency use, should the crew need to quickly return to port or access a typhoon shelter.

The ferry boasts 513m2 of deck space, strengthened to 2tonnes per m2. The vehicle deck offers a total lane length of 51m, and onboard tank capacities include 17,000litres of fuel oil, 36,000litres of fresh water and 118,000litres of ballast water. The vessel is arranged for a 10-person crew.

Xin Sheng Tai has been classed by China Classification Society, which awarded the ferry the notations: ★ CSAD Ferry, Inland river navigation area A Class; and ★ CSMD AUT-1, Electrical Propulsion system, Green Ship-2. The hope is that the ferry will spearhead a wider transition to green propulsion for inland vessels transiting Shanghai and its surrounding areas.

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