Wärtsilä tests wireless charging system on hybrid ferry


Finland-based technology group Wärtsilä has tested its new automatic wireless induction charging system on-board a hybrid coastal ferry, MF Folgefonn, in Norway.

MF Folgefonn has become the world’s first commercial ferry to charge its batteries with high-power wireless charging capability.

Owned by Norwegian ferry operator Norled, MF Folgefonn has a length of 85m and is powered by electric solutions.

Wärtsilä noted that wireless charging does not require a cable connection between the vessel and shore during charging, offering safe connections and disconnections.

The system minimises maintenance as wear and tear to physical connection lines are removed.

Wärtsilä’s integrated system is developed on the basis of inductive power transfer capability and can transmit more than one megawatt of electrical energy.

The system is also capable of transferring power at distances of 50cm between two charging points built into the side of the vessel and the quay.

"The main benefits for customers are up to 20% more utilisation of the available charging time, increased operational safety, and greater system reliability."

Wärtsilä Marine Solutions E&A senior technical officer Ingve Sørfonn said: “During recent years, wireless charging has been introduced for cars, buses and trains. We have now made this possible for marine vessels.

“The main benefits for customers are up to 20% more utilisation of the available charging time, increased operational safety, and greater system reliability.

“There is an ongoing trend to equip coastal ferries with battery-powered and hybrid propulsion since they are particularly affected by environmental regulatory demands. Wireless charging will, therefore, create considerable value for operators of hybrid ferries.”

Norwegian funding institution, Innovation Norway, has partly funded the newly concluded test.


Image: Wärtsilä’s wireless charging system is the first in the world to operate successfully with a coastal ferry. Photo: courtesy of Wärtsilä.