VESSEL REVIEW | Warnowstromer – Solar-powered 80-pax commuter ferry for Rostock, Germany

Photo: RSAG

A new catamaran ferry that runs on solar power has begun operational sailings along the Warnow River in the city of Rostock in northern Germany. Named Warnowstromer (“Warnow Streamer”), the inner city ferry was built by local shipyard Ostseestaal while design work was carried out by Ostseestaal subsidiary Ampereship in collaboration with Netherlands-based naval architecture firm Marimecs.

The new ferry has a length of 19.9 metres, a beam of 6.6 metres, and capacity for 80 passengers plus 15 bicycles as well as a solitary coxswain. An array of 36 photovoltaic panels supplies power for a 230kWh battery pack, which in turn generates electricity for two 45kW rudder propellers.

Photo: Nils Junge

The installation of PV panels helps reduce Warnowstromer‘s dependence on shore power charging, though overnight charging facilities have been built for use by the vessel. The charging facilities utilise permanent magnets, thus doing away with cumbersome mooring lines for keeping the ferry securely tied at berth.

The propulsion setup delivers a maximum speed of 7.5 knots. However, a service speed of 3.7 knots is nonetheless considered adequate for ensuring that sailings are performed according to the operator’s timetable, which calls for intervals of 20 minutes and 30 minutes on weekdays and weekends, respectively. On weekdays, operation will be from 06:00 to 09:00 and again from 14:00 to 18:00. Following its last trip for the day, the ferry will berth for overnight charging.

Warnowstromer is being operated by local company Antaris on behalf of transport service provider Rostocker Strassenbahn (RSAG) as part of a 10-year licence agreement. The ferry’s area of operations encompasses the portion of the Warnow River that stretches from the eastern portion of Rostock’s city harbour area to nearby Gehlsdorf. RSAG said the ferry’s operations will result in CO2 emissions reductions of as much as 95 tonnes per year.

Click here to read other news stories, features, opinion articles, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s Passenger Vessel Week.

Type of vessel:Commuter ferry
Owner:Rostocker Strassenbahn, Germany
Operator:Antaris, Germany
Designers:Ampereship, Germany; Marimecs, Netherlands
Builder:Ostseestaal, Germany
Length overall:19.9 metres
Beam:6.6 metres
Capacity:15 bicycles
Propulsion:2 x rudder propellers, each 45 kW
Maximum speed:7.5 knots
Cruising speed:3.7 knots
Batteries:230 kWh
Other equipment installed:36 x photovoltaic panels
Operational area:Warnow River, Germany

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