VESSEL REVIEW | Xin Shengtai – Shanghai operator adds low-emission inter-island ferry to fleet

Photo: China Classification Society

Chinese operator Shanghai Passenger Ferry Company has taken delivery of a new inter-island Ro-Pax ferry from local builder Yaguang Technology Company.

The fully electric Xin Shengtai (“New Ecology”) will be operated mainly between the islands of Changxing and Hengsha in the Chongming District of northern Shanghai. The use of all-electric propulsion is part of a broader local government initiative of making public road and marine transport in Chongming become fully dependent on low-emission fuel alternatives within five years.

The steel-hulled Xin Shengtai has an LOA of 65 metres, a beam of 14.5 metres, and a moulded depth of 4.3 metres. The vehicle deck was built with a high ceiling to allow larger vehicles such as tourist buses and lorries to be transported along with cars. The passenger cabin is also located on the vehicle deck, though there is adequate separation between this area and the vehicles, as well as between the bow ramp and the passenger gangway, for greater safety.

Photo: China Classification Society

Designed to serve numerous daily round trips with short periods at berth in between, Xin Shengtai relies on two sets of high-performance supercapacitors to store up to 625 kWh of power for the propulsion and the onboard electrical systems. The newbuild is therefore one of the world’s first purpose-designed Ro-Pax ferries that draw propulsive power entirely from onboard supercapacitors, which are notable for having significantly shorter charging times compared to lithium-ion batteries. The supercapacitors’ total output of 2,000 kW provide the azimuth rudder propellers with enough power to deliver speeds of up to 12 knots.

In addition to permitting the vessel to spend less time at berth for power to be fully resupplied, supercapacitors ensure a range of other benefits such as long cycle life, lower levels of noise and vibration, and reduced environmental impact. Also, supercapacitors retain the ability of lithium-ion batteries to be recharged safely even as the onloading or offloading of passengers and vehicles is being carried out. Charging will be done with the aid of a DC shore power facility with a total output of around 2.5 MW.

For added safety, the supercapacitors are also fitted with overload and short circuit alarms.

Xin Shengtai was designed by the 711 Research Institute subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation in accordance to China Classification Society stability rules that cover safe sailing even under Beaufort force eight wind conditions. The ferry will begin operational sailings in the Chongming District before the end of the year.

Click here for the other news, features and reviews comprising this month’s Passenger Vessel Week.

Xin Shengtai
Type of vessel:Ro-Pax ferry
Classification:China Classification Society
Owner:Shanghai Passenger Ferry Company, China
Designer:711 Research Institute, China
Builder:Yaguang Technology Company, China
Hull construction material:Steel
Superstructure construction material:Steel
Deck construction material:Steel
Length waterline:65 metres
Beam:14.5 metres
Depth:4.3 metres
Maximum speed:12 knots
Batteries:625 kWh
Alarm/monitoring systems:Overload alarms; short circuit alarms

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