An EU project has designed a ferry that runs entirely on battery power, which it claims is the world’s fastest air-supported vessel.

The BB Green, which holds up to 70 passengers plus bikes, was launched recently in Riga and is powered by a lithium-ion battery energy storage system. The technology reduces water resistance by having the ship operate on an air cushion.

A battery-powered fan in the bow injects pressurised air into a cavity under the ship and supports some 80 percent of the vessel’s displacement. The resistance is reduced by 40 percent at high speed, which makes it possible for the 25-ton ship to reach a speed of 30 knots propelled by 2 x 280 kW electric motors.

According to the manufacturers, it can be charged in 15-20 minutes with fast charging. The result of a five-year EU project, it will initially be used for demonstration purposes across Europe.

‘Full electrification of passenger ferries will reduce local emissions and provide silent and comfortable transportation on waterways,’ said Antti Väyrynen, the vice president of lithium-ion battery manufacturers, Leclanché.