Show Review 2018


Over 4,500 attendees descended on Electric & Hybrid Marine World Expo in Amsterdam from 27-29 June 2018 to see the latest innovations from more than 130 exhibitors, as well as learn from some 50 conference papers presented by some of the industry’s leading lights. The show, which welcomed more attendees, delegates and exhibits than ever before, has established itself as the world’s largest dedicated marine propulsion exhibition and conference; and visitors to the fifth edition of the event were treated to a wide range of exciting new product launches and key announcements throughout all three days.

Torqeedo’s range of electric and hybrid drives from 0.5-100kW for commercial applications and recreational use generated strong interest, after the company announced live at the show that the range would be part of an integrated electric propulsion system for a new aluminium solar-electric passenger ferry due to enter service on Spain’s Mediterranean coast later this summer.

The 18m (59ft) ECOCAT has been built by the Metaltec Naval shipyard in Cantabria, an autonomous region on Spain’s north coast. It runs purely on electricity generated by 120 photovoltaic solar panels on its roof. The Torqeedo-supplied propulsion system consists of two 50kW Deep Blue electric motors driven by eight 30.5kWh BMW i3 high-voltage marinised lithium-ion batteries, with four installed in each hull.

According to Torqeedo CEO Christoph Ballin, the BMW batteries are not water-cooled – as they normally would be in smaller applications – as cooling a bank of this size in a narrow hull and a hot climate would have required eight separate through-hull systems.

“Our application engineers instead designed a ‘cool room’ in each hull, which allowed the batteries to be stacked closely together, saving space and reducing future maintenance needs,” explained Ballin. “We also collaborated with Metaltec to develop an innovative software model for management of the solar energy capture and storage process.”

With a top speed of 9.7kts (18km/h) and a normal operating speed of 7kts (13km/h), the 120-passenger boat has a cruising range of eight hours and its operators expect to average six 13km (eight-mile) trips per day. It is the first of Metaltec’s new ECOBOAT series of eco-friendly aluminium vessels.

Elsewhere on the show floor, Japanese engine manufacturer Yanmar unveiled a working prototype of its new marine generator set, which is designed as a total electrical power and propulsion solution for workboats, small ferries and other vessels measuring up to approximately 24m (79ft) length.

The new 400V generator set, which has recently rolled off the production line, delivers 17kW at 1,500rpm and is designed around the company’s four-cylinder four-stroke diesel engine. Water-cooled for quiet operation and coupled to a Stamford alternator, the skid-mounted unit is 1,545mm long, 876.5mm wide and 799mm tall.

Eric Tigelaar, manager of Yanmar Europe’s commercial marine department, said, “Listening to current customers, we recognised a need for a generator that would be compact and affordable, while delivering the reliability and quality of the Yanmar brand. We expect an attractive market to open up for fully solar-driven vessels, the batteries of which will need to be charged by such a generator.”

More news came from Lithium Werks, a provider of lithium iron phosphate cells, modules and scalable power systems, as the company shared details of its multi-year agreement with Dutch lithium battery manufacturer Super B.

The agreement, which will secure worldwide supplies of lithium-ion batteries to both companies’ customers worldwide, will see Lithium Werks gear up its continuous supply of nanophosphate cells and Super B continue to expand its operations in response to increasing demand for lithium-ion batteries.

“Leading companies in the marine industry are already served by Super B, and their appetite for battery-powered solutions is only getting greater,” said T Joseph Fisher III, CEO and co-founder of Lithium Werks. “I have been impressed by Super B’s ability to expand quickly in recent years and by its ambition to grow even faster in the years to come. We expect Super B to double in size every year for some time yet, and I am happy to say that Lithium Werks has found a strong strategic partner in Super B.”

On The Switch’s stand, the advanced drivetrain manufacturer announced that its parent company, Yaskawa Corporation, is making a multimillion-dollar investment in The Switch’s R&D capabilities and purchasing new equipment for its factory in Lappeenranta, Finland.

This latest investment will enable The Switch to perform drivetrain testing up to 15MW, which, according to Jukka-Pekka Mäkinen, president and CEO of The Switch, is essential to execute the marine projects that the company is currently planning with customers. It also means that The Switch joins just a handful of companies that have the capability to test high-power machines at such a level.

“To strongly focus on the development of our products, we need to have the resources and facilities to do so,” said Mäkinen. “This investment strengthens the fact that we are a viable partner with sufficient capabilities to invest in the future, and provides us with the financial support needed to step up to the challenge.”

Meanwhile, Canadian energy storage system manufacturer Corvus Energy, which used Electric & Hybrid Marine World Expo to showcase its latest-generation Orca Energy ESS, revealed that the product will be used to power shore stations in Brekstad and Valser in Norway for a fleet of new hybrid-electric ferries operated by Fjord1.

Each shore station will have a capacity of 565kWh, charged from the grid with renewable hydroelectric power. The ferries themselves will also be equipped with 1,137kWh Orca energy storage systems as part of a diesel-electric propulsion system provided by systems integrator Norwegian Electric Systems. Normal operation will be all-electric, powered by the Corvus Energy solution, meaning the diesel engines will have limited use in docking, or in case of a power outage on the power grid, or during rescue operations.

“Corvus Energy is very honoured to have been selected to supply the battery systems for the Fjord1 electric ferries and shore stations,” said Roger Rosvold, director of sales and key accounts at Corvus Energy. “The Orca Energy ESS continues to set the standard for maritime energy storage solutions due to its innovative approach to performance, safety and affordability.”

The second day of the show saw ABB announce a memorandum of understanding with Ballard Power Systems to jointly design, develop and validate a next-generation zero-emission fuel-cell powerplant for the shipping industry.

Both companies will leverage existing kilowatt-scale fuel-cell technologies and optimise them to create a megawatt-scale solution for powering larger ships such as passenger vessels. With an electrical generating capacity of 3MW (equivalent to 4,000hp), the new system will fit within a single module similar in size to a conventional diesel engine.

During the initial phase, the collaboration will focus on the development of proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEM), which convert chemical energy from hydrogen into electricity, heat and clean water, and provide power for hotel operations during docking and for propulsion when at sea.

“The next generation of ships – electrical, digital and connected – will require energy sources that are not only able to meet the increasing demands for fuel efficiency, but will also enable cleaner and safer shipping,” said Peter Terwiesch, president of ABB’s industrial automation division, which is already actively involved in collaborative development of fuel-cell technology for marine applications, including research, testing and a pilot installation implementation.

Terwiesch continued, “We are excited to collaborate with Ballard Power Systems on driving the development of next-generation fuel-cell technology that will power the vessels of the future.”

Another big news story came from Italian power transmission manufacturer Transfluid, which announced it has acquired 100% of the shares in IDTechnology, owner of the Bellmarine brand, a Dutch electric propulsion system developer for commercial boating applications.

According to Ugo Pavesi, CEO of Transfluid, the acquisition will enable the company to expand its range of electric propulsion products and present new solutions that cover all requirements for electric and hybrid powertrains for any kind of marine, inland water or offshore application.

“Last year, we decided that in 2018 we wanted to conquer both the Venice lagoon and Amsterdam’s canals because these are the two locations the world is looking at for electric and hybrid commercial vessels,” said Pavesi. “And so we’ve acquired what we believe is the number-one electric boating company in the Netherlands, especially in Amsterdam.”

Under the terms of the acquisition, Bellmarine will continue to operate from its base in the Netherlands under its current brand identity; however, Transfluid will look to grow Bellmarine’s presence internationally. “We want to help Bellmarine to start selling in markets worldwide, such as in the USA, so taking advantage of our own sales network is what we will do first,” added Pavesi. “Then, in following years, we will establish a production synergy.” Pavesi also confirmed that Marien Schoonen, founder of Bellmarine, will continue at the company, focusing on sales and product development.

Meanwhile, Xalt Energy, the US lithium-ion cell and battery systems manufacturer, not only debuted its new XRS XPAND battery rack system, but also announced that the XPAND battery system the rack is designed for has been certified as acceptable for installation on all marine vessels classified by DNV GL.

According to Xalt Energy’s senior VP of engineering, Martin Klein, the XPAND battery system has been granted Type Approval Certificate TAE00002YC. “XPAND flawlessly completed all required tests including the new 2018 forced thermal runaway passive propagation requirement,” said Klein. “With no active safety systems required, this makes the battery system compliant with the Norwegian Maritime Authority’s Propagation Test 1.”

Visitors were also able to discover more about the XRS XPAND battery rack system, which incorporates XPAND battery packs and battery management systems in modular, expandable racks. A typical rack contains two strings of 10 series-connected packs, with an operating voltage up to 1,000V and total energy up to 222kWh.

“XRS opens the door for deployment of our XPAND systems on very large marine vessels,” added Klein. “Given the ability to populate XRS with our XPAND packs, we can fulfil a wider range of marine missions, including ferries, tug boats and offshore support ships.”

More news came from BMA Technology, following its signing of a contract to deliver and integrate systems for the world’s first completely battery-powered tugboat. As a partner in the project, BMA is responsible for designing, engineering, project managing and commissioning the complete power and propulsion systems.

Designed and built by fellow exhibitor Navtek Naval Technologies, the NV-712 ZeeTUG (which stands for Zero Emissions Electrical Tug) will be powered by two 712kWh lithium-ion battery systems and two 968kWe electric propulsion motors. It will feature power drives, an energy management system, integrated alarm monitoring and control system, and onboard electrical installation.

According to Navtek’s vice chairman of the board, Orkun Ozek, the 18.7m (61.3ft) vessel is planned for delivery to customer GISAS Shipbuilding Industry Co at Tuzla Bay (on the coast of the Marmara Sea) in the first quarter of 2019. “We’ve signed a contract with GISAS to deliver this vessel plus another three. The tugs are small and will work in a very narrow and tight environment, which is why we opted for a fully electric, battery-powered propulsion system, rather than a hybrid solution.”

Visitors to the 2018 Electric & Hybrid Marine World Expo were able to experience what the zero-emission tug’s deck, engine and battery rooms will look like via a virtual-reality headset at Navtek’s stand.

Elsewhere on the show floor, lithium-ion battery system provider Forsee Power showcased its newly expanded product range, with its fully integrated Zen 35 and Pulse 15 battery packs taking centre stage.

Equipped with an identical format and their own integrated battery management systems, both packs are designed for easy integration. Zen 35 provides a high-energy discharge, allowing for a day of operations in complete autonomy; Pulse 15 offers high power for fast charging.

These new battery systems will be produced at the company’s new manufacturing site in Poitiers, France, which, upon opening at the end of 2018, will enable Forsee to begin mass production of its batteries and expand its production capacity by a factor of 10. More than 100 jobs are expected to be created this year, and around 300 by 2021, before any extension to the plant.

“This new facility gives Forsee Power the manufacturing capacity it needs to support energy transition of public transport systems in Europe,” said Forsee Power CEO Christophe Gurtner. “This investment is a perfect fit with the industry plan announced by the French Government at the end of last year, which particularly targets the development of a French batteries sector.”

The new 15,000m2 facility – a former diesel engine piston plant – will initially run three automated production lines. All the roofs of the plant and its car parks will be covered with photovoltaic panels to generate 1.8MW of electricity to power the facility, with the surplus redistributed into the main grid. 10,000m2 of additional land will be held in reserve to facilitate growth of the company over the medium term.

Exhibitors and visitors praise the show’s unique focus and diversity

Attendees at the 2018 World Expo were united in the belief that now is the time to start making the transition to more efficient power. For example, Mark Slawson OBE, fleet and technical director, Red Funnel, said, “I found this year’s show to be absolutely fascinating. The technologies showcased here, the thinking that’s gone on here and some of the ideas presented in the conference were really quite stimulating. I was looking for the propulsion system that we’re going to install in our new ferries that will go into service in about five years and will have to last 30 years. And I’ve concluded that hybridisation is the way to go. This show has proved to me that there are a lot of savings to be made and that electrification is not only cost-efficient but also complies with legislation that’s coming towards us.”

Such is the increasing clamour among shipowners and operators to ensure their vessels meet forthcoming stringent regulations – such as the International Maritime Organization’s goal of slashing emissions output by 50% by 2050, and the Norwegian Government’s announcement that its historical fjords will be serviced only by all-electric vessels by 2026 – that attendees were also unanimous in their praise of the diversity of products on display at Electric & Hybrid Marine World Expo.

“The show was very well organised and meets the needs of anyone requiring new and future electrical systems,” said Isaac Avtalion, CEO of Mar-Tech Marine Systems, an Israeli design company looking to install hybrid systems on board new vessels to help reduce emissions and fuel consumption, as well as increase the efficiencies of conventional diesel and gasoline engines. “We travelled far to be here and it was incredibly useful to have so many relevant companies in the same place at the same time. In just a day or two we met the key players operating in this sector of the industry.”

Likewise, Andy Stewart, assistant director of defence and industry programmes at the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory, which recently launched its first diesel-electric vessel, was at the show to discover new modular battery solutions that meet the specific needs of maritime vessels. “I don’t like this tendency to take technologies that have been proved in automotive or industrial applications and bring them into maritime and simply say they’re going to work. We have to think differently in this industry and I’ve seen some fantastic examples of that here that I’m really excited about. While the chemistries underpinning the battery systems displayed here were similar, I saw a lot of different and innovative approaches to how these systems are built, monitored and managed, which was really interesting for me.”

Meanwhile, others were impressed with the networking opportunities that the expo presented. “It’s great to see so much competition in this sector now and to meet so many people who are all pulling in the same direction,” said Paul Radford, engineering superintendent, BC Ferries, whose current projects include timetabled operations for full-electric ferries operating off the west coast of Canada and large double-ended ferries utilising a hybrid spinning reserve. “Just a few years ago only a handful of companies were developing electric and hybrid propulsion technologies, but now there are lots of options out there, many of which were on display here.”

Exhibitors were also extremely happy with the number and quality of visitors in attendance. “The profile of people here – mainly engineers and corporate management – means we’ve benefited from opportunities we typically would not have been able to find through conventional channels,” said Michael Ruscigno, co-founder, Baknor Electronics Industries.

Others were pleased by the fact that the 2018 Electric & Hybrid Marine World Expo provided a platform for them to do business with their fellow exhibitors. “We’ve signed three contracts in the last three days, one of which is for an all-electric fishing vessel,” revealed Halvard Hauso, executive vice president for sales and marketing at Canadian energy storage system developer Corvus Energy. “This is why we’re here and why we always come back each year.”

Anthony Baro, managing partner of first-time US exhibitor PowerDocks, said, “Just by being here, in front of so many other exhibitors, we’ve actually held discussions with one European company who previously didn’t know anything about us, but now wants to work with us on a project.”

The dates for the 2019 show are 25-27 June. Exhibition entrance is free, but a conference fee exists. Early booking is recommended to guarantee yourself a seat at the conference. Space is strictly limited and seats are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. To book your conference place, click here. You can register for your free 2019 exhibition pass here.

Archived Reviews

2018 | 2017 | 2016

Future Show: Electric & Hybrid Marine World Expo 2020, 23-25 June 2020, Hall 12, RAI Amsterdam, The Netherlands