Under the 7th FRAMEWORK PROGRAM, EU is funding BB GREEN, an R&D project aiming at demonstrating feasibility of the first ever Air Supported Vessel (ASV) battery powered, fast commuter ferry. The 3 year project, initiated and coordinated by SES Europe AS (Norway), began with a kick-off meeting in Rotterdam in the end of June.
Fast, efficient, zero-emission waterborne passenger transportation is the ultimate goal. The 7-partner team (consisting of SES Europe AS (Norway), SSPA Sweden (Sweden), Lloyds Register (UK). Carbonia AB (Sweden), Diab AS (Norway), Aqualiner (The Netherlands) and Amberjac Projects Ltd (UK)), will develop a low-wake wash and air-supported vessel concept, combining innovations from several sectors to develop a 30–35 knot vessel capable of carrying some 70–100 passengers and a number of bicycles. In addition to a new ASV hull (patented by Effect Ships International AS (Norway)) supporting approximately 80% of the displacement on a cushion of air, a new large diameter carbon fiber propulsion system (Carbonia) designed to operate in surface piercing mode for maximum efficiency and minimum resistance will be utilized. The hull construction material for the planned new range of BB GREEN ASV’s will be light-weight and strong carbon sandwich (Diab).
The all-electric driveline will be designed to deliver almost full torque from the first RPM. Amberjac Projects Ltd will develop and produce a new Lithium Ione Nano Tech battery pack with a capacity of 400 kWh (for the commercial BB GREEN vessels). The new battery will be able to take very rapid recharge and will have a markedly longer life than currently available batteries.
The Netherlands (Rotterdam) has been selected for the feasibility testing. Partner and end user Aqualiner, in close collaboration with Province of South Holland and fast ferry partner Waterbus, will be responsible for the dissemination and exploitation of results from the project, along with SES Europe. Aqualiner is also investigating other potential routes and route networks in other European countries.
In phase two, following tank testing of two ASV candidate hulls (SSPA) and initial testing of the new battery cell technology (Amberjac Projects), the project will initiate a tender inviting a number of European boat builders to participate in a tender process to construct the first BB GREEN 18 x 6 m test and concept verification vessel.
According to the current plan, the project should be concluded in April 2014.