The hybrid system on ferries is similar to that of hybrid cars, where petrol or diesel is combined with electricity.
In 2013, we converted the first ferry on the route between Puttgarden in Germany and Rødby in Denmark to hybrid propulsion. This conversion was a big success, and in 2014, we converted the remaining three passenger ferries on the route to hybrid. As this was a visionary and extraordinary project, it was co-financed by the European Union.
When we built the new ferries, which went into operation on the route Rostock-Gedser in 2016, we chose to build them as hybrid ferries. Thus, Scandlines owns and operates one of the world's largest hybrid fleets.
Hybrid ferries are more eco-friendly than conventional ferries operating solely on diesel. Converting the conventional ferries to hybrid ferries allows us to reduce CO2 emissions by up to approx. 15,000 tons per year - the same amount as produced by 340 average households in Germany p.a.
This is how the hybrid system works
In normal service, only two or three of the ferry’s originally five diesel engines are working, at a load of 40-55 percent offshore and of 8-10 percent when the ferry is in the port. Nevertheless, the engines work most efficiently at a load of 85-90 percent.
We have replaced one of the five diesel engines with a battery of 1.6 MWh - corresponding to approx. 182 Toyota Prius hybrid cars.
By using this battery simultaneously with the diesel engines, the engines are working at the optimum level of load, which is 85-90 percent. By doing so, we save fuel which is good for the environment. Scandlines is the first shipping company in the world to make large-scale use of a hybrid propulsion system, which stores large amounts of energy in batteries on board.
We combine diesel power with electricity
Scandlines’ hybrid system combines traditional diesel power with electric batteries. When the engine needs more energy than the diesel generator can supply, it uses the batteries’ energy – and when there is less need for energy, excess energy is saved in the batteries.
Converting the conventional ferries to hybrid ferries allows us to reduce CO2 emissions by up to approx. 15,000 tons per year.
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A sustainable future
To broaden our Green Agenda, we have developed commitments across the entire organisation in support of 13 out of 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
One of the steps towards our zero emission strategy is the exchange of all thrusters – the ships’ propulsion systems – on Scandlines’ four hybrid ferries on the route between Puttgarden in Germany and Rødby in Denmark.
Powered by the wind
Since 2013, we have operated with environmentally friendly hybrid technology. In 2020, we installed a rotor sail on M/V Copenhagen and in 2022 on M/V Berlin respectively, which operate on our route between Rostock in Germany and Gedser in Denmark.
Sustainability in action
We reduce food waste by serving individual portions made to order, putting smaller amounts of food on the buffet at the time and by having less dishes from which to choose.
Zero direct emission-freight ferry
Scandlines has ordered a new zero direct emission-freight ferry for the Puttgarden-Rødby route. The ferry will be inserted in 2024 and will launch the next generation of ferries on the route.
Collaboration with external partners
For a number of years, we have cooperated with the German environmental organisation, NABU.
Reduction of energy consumption
Our current focus is on reducing our ferries' energy consumption per crossing. We are investing in energy efficiency and operational adjustments that lead to energy savings.