Compressed air to power ferries?

Cavotec’s Alternative Maritime Power (AMP) system, which uses shore-supplied electricity to reduce diesel-engine emissions from ships while they are in port, is one example of how innovative technology enables ports to operate more sustainably.

The prospect of higher fuel costs and environmental concerns are also inspiring the development of alternative forms of propulsion for marine transportation. In a recent article by Maritime Executive, compressed air, previously used to power mining locomotives, is put forward as an option for powering short-distance marine services.

Similar to the application of Alternative Maritime Power, vessels such as ferries can connect to compressed air energy storage (CAES) systems via high-pressure lines when at port. Small amounts of compressed air can be stored in on-board high-pressure tanks to provide short bursts of propulsion, while the main supply would come from natural gas stores in underground caverns. While in transit, compressed air would be transferred to low-pressure tanks to consistent supply during each voyage.

Compressed air as alternative maritime power for ferries

According to the article, “much of the technology needed to develop a marine compressed air propulsion system already exists and is well proven in related applications. The technology may be suitable for ships and tugs that operate short-distance voyages, such as ferry services or short-distance services at select ports. There is scope to further refine and develop compressed air propulsion for a variety of marine vessels.”

At Cavotec, we always enjoy hearing about innovative technologies that enable the ports, airports, Mining and tunnelling and general industries to operate more sustainably and work more productively. We shall be following the development of this particular approach with interest.