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Australia's potential in low emissions vessel development

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 15:25 authored by William SymingtonWilliam Symington, Jonathan BinnsJonathan Binns, Hung NguyenHung Nguyen

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) MARPOL annex VI with its recent amendments requires that emissions reduction be considered by shipbuilders and operators. Regional requirements such as Emission Control Areas and the Norwegian ban on shipping emissions in its World Heritage listed fjords by 2026 are accelerating low emissions vessel development. Electric propulsion with battery storage is increasingly being used to reduce fuel costs and emissions, by enabling increased use of shore electrical supply, solar photo-voltaics (PV) and hydrogen fuel cell energy.

European ferry operators have demonstrated operational savings with electric propulsion by completely replacing diesel fuel with mains electricity. For example, the ferry Ar Vag Tredan uses shore electrical power stored in supercapacitors. The ferries Ampere, Future of the Fjords and Ellen use shore electrical power stored in lithium-ion batteries.

It is no coincidence that Ar Vag Tredan and Ampere have aluminium hulls and Ellen has an aluminium bridge. Ampere is half the mass of a similar sized steel ferry, improving the viability of its electric propulsion system by reducing vessel draft and inertia. This highlights an opportunity for Australia, because Australian shipbuilders already have a significant share of the world market in contracted aluminium vessels. Aluminium shipbuilding expertise is one of several key factors placing Australia in a unique position with regard to the development of low- and zero-emissions vessels. This paper builds on a “Big Idea” presented at the Australian Engineering Conference AEC 2018 and analysis presented at the International Maritime Conference IMC 2019. It highlights how and why Australian governments at all levels need to move more rapidly in developing and growing an industry of national and global significance.


Publication title

Proceedings of the 2021 Climate Smart Engineering Conference








Australian Maritime College


Climate Smart Engineering

Place of publication


Event title

2021 Climate Smart Engineering Conference

Event Venue

Virtual Event

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


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Copyright unknown

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Energy storage, distribution and supply not elsewhere classified; Water transport not elsewhere classified