Damen Shipyards Group’s electric ferries (eFerries) will be the first vessels to utilise the new ports and harbour infrastructure solution from Switzerland-based Leclanché, which allows hybrid and fully electric vessels to fast charge when returning to port.

The shipbuilder has commissioned Leclanché to build and provide two fast charge electric ferry stations, along with auxiliary electrical storage systems, on Canada’s Lake Ontario.

Leclanché’s Stationary Solutions group will deliver the complete recharging infrastructure, which will be deployed next year to support two Damen eFerries.

These vessels have been constructed by Damen for the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.

Under previous contracts with the Leclanché e-Marine group, these electric vessels are powered by Leclanché’s Marine Rack System (MRS), certified by Bureau Veritas.

With a capacity to accommodate 42 cars and 300 passengers, the Amherst Islander II (Damen 6819 E3) is a fully electric vessel featuring a 1.9MWh capacity Leclanché Battery System.

It generates zero emissions and can operate at a speed of up to 12k, connecting the mainland port city of Millhaven with Stella on Amherst Island.

Meanwhile, the Wolfe Islander IV (Damen 9819 E3), a larger eFerry, is equipped with a 4.6MWh Leclanché Battery System.

With a capacity to accommodate 83 cars and 399 passengers, this vessel will operate between mainland Kingston and Wolfe Island.

Amherst Islander II completed its sea trials in April and Wolfe Islander IV in May.

In a statement, Leclanché said: “Leclanché’s in-house capability to provide both the battery energy storage system to power maritime vessels and the on-land charging and storage system, powered by the grid or increasingly cost-effective renewable sources of energy, sets it apart from other providers.”

Ontario ports and harbour systems have a 3MWh Leclanché battery energy storage system (BESS) situated in port-side structures.

The BESS is connected to the ferry charger through 1,800kW DC-DC converters and will be charged by the harbour grid.

Furthermore, these ‘buffer stations’ will be protected by a fire suppression system using piped-in water running alongside the battery racks and behind each battery module, with the backs of each module having an opening that will enable water spray to enter in case of thermal events.

Leclanché’s DC-to-DC fast charging system will allow the eFerries to charge in a span of ten minutes at each port.

These batteries have been created to charge each ship up to 7,850 times per year, ensuring 21 hours of daily operations irrespective of weather conditions.