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Incat to begin design study for new electric-hybrid ferry in partnership with DFDS

Incat Tasmania announced a new partnership with Danish shipping and logistics company DFDS to complete a design study for the construction of a electric-hybrid ferry. The 72-meter ferry, which will have the option to convert to fully electric, is suited to a number of ferry routes across Europe.


Since launching the design of our series produced electric ships last November there has been significant interest from many ferry operators, and we’re excited to work with DFDS on their projects. The Incat 72-metre series is offered in a fully electric model that is suited to many ferry networks around the world.

Incat has specialized in lightweight aluminum vessel design and construction for the past four decades. Aluminum ferries, being approximately half the weight of their steel counterparts, require less power when operated at similar speeds and deadweights. This results in significant energy savings and emissions reductions.

—Incat CEO Stephen Casey

Incat is based in Tasmania where the State generates 100% of its energy needs from renewables; the energy consumed in the construction of Incat vessels comes from 100% renewable sources—a combination of hydro, wind and solar.

Tasmania has achieved Net Zero emissions for the past 7 years in a row, making Incat the only shipyard in Australia, and part of only a handful in the world, able to produce zero-emission ships in a State that has already achieved net-zero.



They are using aluminum in this application due to its lighter weight than steel in spite of its higher cost.

It does though take very large amounts of energy to make, renewable or not, and recycling is limited to lower performance products such as drink cans.

Carbon fiber is very expensive, and finds its home mainly in aircraft, where weight is at such a premium.

Glass fiber is used extensively for small boats, but is tough to recycle, and the fibers are highly toxic due to their size being just right to penetrate deeply into the lungs, so it is horrible to work with. It never caught on to any great extent in the car industry.

But there is an alternative, non toxic, potentially good to recycle, with far longer life and toughness somewhere in between glass fiber and carbon fiber, already in low volume production way cheaper than the latter.

This is basalt fiber, which I have mentioned previously in the context of replacement of steel rebar in concrete.

It is used at very small scale for boat hulls by Windelo and a couple of others, having excellent qualities for marine applications being chemically inert.

Aluminum/ basalt fiber meshes and basalt fiber/flax meshes are possible, the some use of the material in the car industry:

In my view it may be possible to substantially reduce the weight of cars by its application to body panels etc, very helpful for BEVs, and it takes around a tenth as much energy to make as steel.

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