Ekofish is building most sustainable fishing vessel

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Ekofish Group, a family firm from the fishing village of Urk, the Netherlands that focuses on sustainable fishery, has set the goal of building the most sustainable fishing vessel possible. In order to realise that goal, the company has selected both Pon Power and EST-Floattech as suppliers.

The UK205 ‘Spes Nova’, a twin rigger/flyshooter currently under construction by Maaskant Stellendam, was developed in collaboration with Vripack Naval Architects. The vessel will be fitted with three identical diesel-electric Caterpillar generator sets, coupled to a power management system with a lithium battery set-up.

An intelligent energy regeneration system has also been developed for functions such as unspooling the winches when setting out nets. The ship is entirely emissions-free, both when stationary in the harbour or underway at sea due to the battery capacity on board of the vessel. Its combination of features makes it the most powerful, efficient, and sustainable vessel of its class. The Spes Nova is scheduled for delivery in early 2019.

Starting from scratch
Louwe de Boer, owner of Ekofish, explains: “This ship was different right from the first drafts. The ship will have to work for the next 20 years, use as little energy as possible, and be as safe as possible for the crew.

At the moment, we’re still burning a half litre of fuel per kilo of fish caught, and we have to bring that down to a maximum of 0.3 litres. To reach that goal, we deliberately chose not to chart a course with the same old ship- or trawler architects. So we started from scratch. That’s why we asked yacht designer Vripack Naval Architects to provide the design, and we approached Pon Power for the generator sets and EST-Floattech for their energy storage solutions.”

Noud Seegers, Marine Business Account Manager at Pon Power, adds: “Ekofish asked us to help them build the most sustainable vessel possible. At Pon Power and Caterpillar, we lead the way in making fishery more sustainable, so we thought it would be a good challenge to take on with our sister company, battery builder EST- Floattech.”

Fully electric
Noud Seegers continues: “We looked at several options for the power supply in the early stages of the process. We eventually chose for three identical C18 generator sets with a capacity of 565 EKW at 60Hz, plus a C4.4 ACERT harbour set providing 99 EKW at 50Hz. We then coupled this fully parallel installation to a power management system with batteries, which offers several advantages. For example, the skipper can start with a different generator set each week. Whenever he needs more power, then he can call on a second or third generator set. And when the vessel falls under a certain load factor, then one of the generator sets will shut off automatically. All in all, it’s a smart system that allows us to make the optimal use of the generator sets, in combination with the batteries. That means each individual engine has fewer running hours per year, which is maintenance-friendly and helps cut costs. But it also helps conserve fuel. We don’t have any influence on the price of fuel, but we do have a say in how much we burn!”

Koen Boerdijk, Account Manager at EST-Floattech, adds: “Another benefit of the electric power system is that a battery system can store the electricity regenerated when the winches are unspooled to set out the nets. All of those features combined will make the Spes Nova one of the most sustainable and innovative ships in the world.

It will emit less CO2 and use less fossil fuel, because we can use the batteries to compensate for peak load – what we call ‘peak shaving’. A ship’s engine operates most efficiently at loads of more than around 50 percent. By using the batteries, you can adjust the engines to provide the most-used kiloWatts or horsepower, allowing it to operate more efficiently within its optimal power band. Plus, you can use fewer engines, or smaller ones.

When operating under electric power, as is the case when moored or sailing in the harbour, you don’t use any fuel at all, and you have no emissions. The batteries are also maintenance-free. So there are plenty of plus points, and we’re therefore very proud of this project!”