Quiet and Environmentally Friendly Across the Weser River

Baumüller equips innovative hybrid ferry

“Dear listeners, dear readers - a new ship is driving on the Weser!,” that’s how the ship's godmother Dr. Katja Pourshirazi begins her poem on the occasion of the hybrid ferry Farge’s christening on February 24, 2018. fargeThe ferry Farge is powered exclusively by Baumüller electric motors, but diesel generators on still on board for power generation. A first in German ferry operation | Image: Irene Neumann

The 59-meter long and 14-meter wide ferry Farge is something very special. It now transports people, passenger cars, semi-trailers and bicycles across the Weser from Berne in Lower Saxony to the Bremen district of Farge. The special thing about it is that it now has a hybrid drive, driven only with electric motors from the drive and automatization specialist Baumüller. This means that the ferry is equipped with three diesel engines, which act as generators, thereby supplying four electric motors with power that drive the ship. This is completely new for the ferry company Bremen-Stedingen and managing director Andreas Bettray says that the ferry was to use the latest technology for environmental protection and to save fuel and emissions. They were able to do this and the Farge is a real novelty as the first hybrid passenger and vehicle ferry in this size class in Germany.

Better maneuverability

The Farge moves quietly across the water with just a little white steam coming from the stack where a black cloud used to emerge. The captain, crew and technicians were already excited about the new drive system on the test drives: The hybrid drive runs absolutely quietly. With the Baumüller electric motors, this generates significantly fewer vibrations than the previous diesel engines. In addition, the maneuvering properties are much better thanks to the electric motors, because they offer full torque immediately. This is a considerable advantage and increase in efficiency if you consider that the ferry only covers about 400 meters on its short route between Berne and Farge and is constantly docking or casting off.

Reducing fuel and emissions

Baumüller Anlagen-Systemtechnik, the system company of the Nuremberg-based Baumüller Group, implemented the entire innovative drive system. The highlight is that the diesel engines work as generators and are always operated in the power range with the optimum degree of efficiency. They are also fundamentally smaller and the fuel consumption and emissions are significantly reduced, all with the same effective power. In addition, excess energy that is not used for the propeller drives is fed back into the system and stored in batteries, which improves the energy efficiency further. The innovative Baumüller control system uses a monitor directly in the engine room and one on the bridge to display all relevant data and information about the operation of the diesel and electric motors. In this way, the skipper always has a clear view of all important information. The drive system was equipped with a particularly powerful exhaust filter to optimize it further. The advanced project impressed with the significant improvements compared to the predecessors so much that the government is supporting it with funding.

Baumüller has many years of experience in equipping hybrid and electric ships and offers components as well as systems and engineering solutions for inland waterway vessels, yachts, ferries, offshore vessels, etc.

The cooperation with the company Baumüller was not only impressive from the start all the way to company, but it was also inspiring,” says Andreas Bettray in thanks.

With the words “Always a good trip and always a hand's width of water under the keel,” the Farge was celebratorily christened and inaugurated for ferry operation.