P&O launches double-ended hybrid ferry for Channel Crossing journeys

The world’s largest double-ended hybrid ferry has begun crossings between France and England as part of efforts to decarbonise boat travel.

P&O Ferries’ newly commissioned Fusion Class vessel ‘P&O Pioneer’ has two bridges so that it does not need to turn around in ports, which saves fuel on every roundtrip.

The firm said it forecasts a 40 per cent reduction in carbon emissions on the Dover-Calais route which crosses the English Channel from its first day in service. This makes it the “most sustainable ferry ever” to sail between Britain and the Continent, it added.

The Fusion Class vessel, which cost about £111m, is propelled by a combination of fuel and battery power. Reductions in fuel usage and emissions are delivered by the hybrid system by allowing the Pioneer to operate from its energy storage system while manoeuvring or in port, and is designed to have the capacity to become fully carbon-neutral in the future.

The modular design of the ship allows for modifications to be added later that can make it more environmentally friendly as more charging stations are brought in at ports. The current generators on the vessel can be removed and replaced with batteries.

Maritime transport is a substantial CO2 emitter, representing 3 to 4 per cent of the EU’s total CO2 emissions, or over 144 million tonnes of CO2 in 2019. International shipping alone is currently responsible for around 2.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and growing. Concerns have been raised that without action, these emissions could increase between 50 and 250 per cent by 2050.

P&O has said it has no plans to build further hybrid ships, as due to rising costs, each one could cost up to £145m each. But it plans to eventually make its fleet fully electric once Dover and Calais ports are set up for it.

P&O ‘ship of the future’ director Ross Barrett said: “We are looking at how we could continue with the journey of making our fleet much more sustainable, and technology is changing all the time with sustainability on ships.”

He said the company “would like to see” the infrastructure at ports in place before 2030 and that talks were ongoing.

He added: “We are taking a much-needed step in the maritime industry. We could have easily gone out and built another Spirit Class but it doesn’t deliver on what we want to do.”

In February, the UK government launched a multi-million-pound Zero Emission Vessels and Infrastructure competition to help decarbonise the country’s maritime sector.

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Original Source: https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2023/06/po-launches-double-ended-hybrid-ferry-to-carry-channel-crossing-passengers/

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