by Otilia Drăgan

High-speed ferries can be an excellent alternative for commuting in cities that have access to inland waterways. Still, the problem is that they also burn a lot of fuel, which is bad for the environment and costly. With this in mind, two Swedish companies have joined forces to develop a high-speed catamaran that is also emissions-free. 

Beluga24 could become the world’s first zero-emissions, high-speed catamaran for public transportation. Green City Ferries AB, a Stockholm-based systems integrator for waterborne transportation, wants to revolutionize this mobility sector with an electric ferry that also boasts high performance and significantly reduced operating costs. 

This is how the Beluga24 was born, designed by Teknicraft in New Zealand and Studio Sculli in Italy. Green City Ferries built this catamaran’s foil-assisted hull from carbon fiber, which is known to be lightweight yet very efficient. It’s meant to be a comfortable commuter, with enough space for 150 passengers and 28 bikes. By being smaller and lighter than standard ferries, it can reduce operating costs and enable more frequent trips.

Its interior was designed to be “bright and warm,” and passengers would have access to a self-service cafeteria, Wi-Fi connectivity, and USB charging ports. The catamaran would also include two toilets, display monitors with information for those onboard, as well as wheelchair access and space for baby strollers.

A key partner in the project, Eschandia will equip Beluga24 with its battery and hydrogen fuel cell solution. According to this energy systems developer, its battery is much lighter than similar ones on the market. Plus, thanks to its high energy efficiency, this system is supposed to require less hydrogen – which, in turn, allows a much lighter ship design. “The ferry will be equipped with an integrated system with both batteries and hydrogen, which is significantly more energy efficient compared to solutions with separate systems,” said the company’s CEO, Magnus Eriksson. Traveling at 30 knots (over 34 mph or 54 kph)), the Beluga24 will be a pioneering high-speed, eco-friendly catamaran.

The vessel will be equipped with Eschandia’s system in the Fall of 2022, and is meant for commercial traffic in Stockholm.