Indian Register of Shipping has recently classed a hybrid catamaran (battery powered) ferry - ‘Water Metro-01’. It is the first in a series of 23 such vessels being built by Cochin Shipyard Ltd. As decarbonisation gathers pace, industry stakeholders are actively working together to develop alternate propulsion systems with an aim to reduce overall carbon footprint.

The 24.8m catamaran ferry, designed for shore charging and certified to carry 100 passengers, is propelled by hybrid electric propulsion system by means of Lithium Titanium Oxide (LTO) batteries & DG Sets. The capacity of installed batteries is 122 kWh which are capable of fast charging. Additionally, the vessel can run on power generated by the onboard DG Sets as well as hybrid mode, which is a combination of both DG sets and batteries.

The vessel is owned by Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) and is a part of setting up of a world class Integrated Water Transport System for Kochi city. The vessels are expected to be operating on 15 identified routes connecting 41 jetties across 10 island communities across 76 km route network and 1 boatyard in Kochi.

The project is a step forward in India’s self-reliant initiative of AtmaNirbhar Bharat and represents the collective efforts of CSL, KMRL and IRS.

IRS has developed Guidelines for battery powered vessels and the vessel was assigned with the notation “BATTERY PROP “. The class notation BATTERY PROP is assigned to vessels where the battery systems are used for ship propulsion and are in accordance with the requirements of these Guidelines.

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With the growing trend in use of battery power for vessel propulsion/ auxiliaries; the experience gained through this project has helped IRS to develop a greater understanding of the challenges in use of battery systems for domestic ferries. IRS is now fully geared up to provide a holistic solution to industry on battery powered vessels both for new builds and retrofits.

“IRS Plan Approval Centre & Surveyors at site have worked closely with Cochin Shipyard Ltd. and other stakeholders in making this project a reality” said Mr. Vijay Arora, Managing Director. “IRS is actively working with the industry in developing technologies using renewable energy and alternate fuels in line with the IMO GHG Reduction Strategy” he added.

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