Home » News » First ships running on electricity to start operating on Croatian coast in 2-3 years

First ships running on electricity to start operating on Croatian coast in 2-3 years

Jadrolinija marks its 75th anniversary


ZAGREB, 12 March (Hina) – First electric vessels can be expected in Adriatic ports in two to three years’ time, and experts believe that Croatian engineers and Croatian docks can build them.

“We have the shipyards that can build such ships,” Ozren Bego, a professor at the Split Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture (FESB) has recently told Hina.

Professor Bego says that the Croatian government and local authorities should provide full support to projects of building ferries and passenger ships running on electricity.

Bego said that construction of electric ships should be given a priority over future electric cars.

Considering the development and design of electric vessels, the Split-based Jadroplov shipping company has so far made the biggest headway in Croatia. The professor informed that it had designed an electric ferry that will be able to transport 1,000 passengers and up to 400 vehicles.

If the funding of the project can be soon ensured, the ferry can be expected in two years’ time, said Bego.

The sea, transport and infrastructure ministry has told Hina that there are plans for the procurement of six ships — three passenger ships and three catamarans – running on electricity or on solar power until mid-2026.

The necessary feasibility study for this purpose is being prepared, said the ministry.

Jadrolinija set to procure three electric ships soon

Jadrolinija, Croatia’s largest liner shipping company, whose fleet now has 53 ships plans to procure three electric vessels.

In January, this Rijeka-headquartered company advertised a tender for the construction of three electric passenger ships that use electricity stored in batteries, and the procurement is estimated at €45 million. Allocations from the EU funds will be used to co-fund the costs.

Each of those three ships can transport 389 passengers, and their crews will consist of eight members.

The maximum length of the vessel is set at 52 metres, and with at 12 metres.

The electric vessels are to sail between Mali Lošinj and Susak, Šibenik and Vodice as well as between Suđurađ and Dubrovnik.

New fast catamaran lines connecting Split and island of Brač introduced


The deadline for submitting bids was 22 February, and Jadrolinija received seven bids. Currently, it is examining the validity of the documentation of bidders.

Mljet island using solar catamarans as eco-friendly means of transport

Solar energy powers vessels made by Tomislav Uroda of Zagreb who wanted to make that mode of transportation more ecological, faster and more comfortable, and his self-sustainable vessels have been doing just that on Mljet island for several years.

Frustration over the scarcity of ferry lines between islands prompted Uroda to try and find a solution to that problem in his own workshop.

The idea of having several smaller, energy efficient boats, acceptable in terms of the European future of reduced greenhouse gas emissions, fight against climate change and investment in green technologies, operate on a daily basis instead of one big vessel, has become a successful international story, Uroda told Hina in February 2022.

Some ten years ago, the then young graduate of mechanical engineering and naval architecture who hails from the island of Murter started a business called iCat, and since then he has become one of the world’s leading innovators, offering solar and electric boats.

His babyCat vessels can develop a speed of up to 9.5 knots and can take in a maximum 54 passengers. Surplus solar energy is stored in batteries on the boat.

The babyCat vessel is also equipped with chargers, which means that its batteries can be additionally charged while the vessel is docked on the coast, Uroda told Hina in an interview which Hina published on 13 February last year.

Mljet island using solar catamarans as eco-friendly means of transport

Babycat (Photo credit: iCat)

Initiative signed for green passenger catamarans in October 2021

An initiative called “Autonomous electric vessels for smart islands and cities” was signed on 25 October 2021 with the aim to build 21 green catamarans, watercraft with zero harmful emissions that rely solely on green fuels. The initiative was launched and signed by Uroda as director of the iCat company, Dubravko Majetić, dean of the Zagreb Faculty of Engineering and Shipbuilding, Gordan Gledec, dean of the Zagreb Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, Boris Ćosić, director of the Technology Transfer Centre, and Nedjeljko Perić, director of the Nikola Tesla Innovation Centre.

The initiative envisages building 21 catamarans for 100 to 300 passengers in three sizes. One of each model will be deployed along the Adriatic as part of a pilot project to test the possibilities of seven destinations.

The development of the fleet will require the development of the energy infrastructure for the supply of electric vessels with electricity. The project therefore envisages developing charging stations with battery storage and solar power plants. The battery tanks, by connecting to the energy infrastructure, will contribute to the development of smart islands and cities as part of a system of smart grids facilitating the storage and supply of electricity.

The initiative also envisages developing a vessel steering and monitoring system based on progressive methods and artificial intelligence. Vessel monitoring and steering, a roboticised system for filling the vessels’ energy tanks, and a system of smart high-power charging stations which use energy from renewables represent the backbone of the development and application of modern technical solutions in maritime transport.

Croatian islands are rich in energy sources and can be leaders of the energy transition to a fully carbon-neutral economy by 2050, it was said at the signing ceremony in Zagreb.

Split researchers develop electric energy storage systems for ships and households

In May 2021, it was reported that FESB researchers had developed battery systems that can fully power vessels sailing along the Croatian coast and help local islands’ inhabitants to have stable supplies of electricity.

In April 2021, the FESB faculty’s representatives and executives of the Jadroplov shipping company signed an agreement on designing and developing passenger ships powered by stored energy from the battery systems.

The project was based on Active System for Electric Energy Storage and Stabilization of Electric Grid (ASPEMS) developed by the faculty’s professors Bego and Božo Terzić and engineer Teo Krtalić.

The battery energy storage can have multifold applications, and local households, notably those in isolated communities on islands and in mountainous regions where electrical grids can be unstable, can benefit from this system. The faculty announces that one of the applications is providing “solutions for stabilizing island mode operation, including frequency regulation, black start and backup power source.”

The project, prepared in Split, envisages the storage capacity of 140 kilowatthour along 500 Watt power inverter.

Two million euros have been invested so far in this project, and most funds for this purpose have been provided through the European Regional Development Fund, it was said in mid-2021.

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