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GVB – Public Transport Company of Amsterdam
Hybrid ferries connect the city of Amsterdam nonstop

The project

Amsterdam's waterfront, the IJ River, is one the busiest Dutch waterways connecting the Port of Amsterdam with the North Sea. Every day many passengers cross the IJ River with bicycles, mopeds or on foot, on the 6 free ferry routes which are operated by GVB. The Company has a policy of reducing the emissions and environmental impact from its ferries, trams, buses and cars to an absolute minimum. So, when GVB ordered two new ferries from Holland Shipyard they decided to use battery hybrid technology to improve fuel efficiency and reduce pollution.

The solution

GVB decided to use electric propulsion with diesel-powered generators and Lithium-Ion batteries to shave the power peaks. This allowed them to downsize the generators, as these batteries enable the generators to run very efficiently with an almost constant load.

2 x 250 kW electric azimuth thrusters with Oswald PM motors are powered by VACON® NXP Liquid Cooled Drives. 4 x 133 kW floating frequency Stamford generators powered by John Deere diesel engines. The AC power is converted to DC using VACON® NXP AFE drives. The 50 kW, 50 Hz electrical ship grid is generated by a VACON® NXP Liquid Cooled drive with MicroGrid functionality.

To reduce the remaining air pollution the diesel engines are fitted with efficient exhaust gas cleaning systems, also known as SCR (selective catalytic reactor), which remove toxic gases and particles. The IJ Ferries 60 and 61 already fulfill the new stricter air pollution rules, which will apply from 2019/2020. This contributes to improving the air quality and reduces noise for the citizens of Amsterdam and for the millions of tourists using the ferries.

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We selected a hybrid solution from Holland Shipyard and their electrical propulsion partner, Holland Ship Electric which has very good experience using VACON® NXP drives for their electric propulsion systems.

Casper van der Werf, Project manager, GVB

The result

The skippers are very happy with the high reliability of the hybrid propulsion as 24/7 operation is essential. They are just as easy to handle as the conventional diesel-powered sister ships, but they are much quieter. The low noise level makes the ride a pleasure for both passengers and crew. In normal weather conditions, there are two generators operating at constant load. The batteries are charged when the ferries are at standstill or running at low speed. When the ships accelerate, the peak power is drawn from the batteries. In battery mode, with generators turned off, the ferries can run 10–11 round trips which corresponds to approximately one hour's operation. Under normal conditions with the generators running, the state-of-charge of the batteries rises and falls by only a few percentages during a round trip.


hybrid ferry operation is powered by VACON® NXP drives

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