• The Financial District

EUROPE EYES 'GREEN' CONTINENT

As Europe sets itself the goal of becoming the first climate-neutral continent, there will be changes to where we live, the food we eat and how we get around.

The “Green Deal”, launched by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in December 2019, set a target of 2050 to achieve its ambitions and will involve some radical and innovative projects according to Euronews writer Katharina Rabillon.


Less waste, healthier food with fewer pesticides and fertilisers, better public transport alternatives and cleaner energy are just some of the plans being put forward.


Major changes are needed for Europe to become the first climate-neutral continent


In order to achieve climate neutrality the EU has to decarbonise the energy sector and help industry to be more innovative and become global green leaders. Renovating buildings is among the priorities to help cut energy bills and energy use and the EU plans to roll out cleaner, cheaper and healthier forms of transport.


One of the success stories is an all-electric ferry that could transform maritime traffic. 750-tonne “Ellen” covers up to 22 nautical miles and connects two Danish islands. In her home port on the Danish island of Ærø Ellen loads her passengers and recharges her batteries. Once charged, the ship leaves for one of its five daily trips to the neighbouring island.


All-electric - no oil


This project was co-financed by the European Union in co-operation with islanders who are eager to achieve carbon neutrality. E-Ferry project co-ordinator, Trine Heinemann, believes it is a good example for the whole of Europe. “We’re fully-electric, so there is no oil on board at all to run anything on the ship,” she says.


Heinemann explains that a ship like Ellen faces the same challenges as electric cars when it comes to the distances it might travel but does not see that as a major problem.

“I think in Europe it's probably about 80 percent of the Ferry transportation that can actually be covered within a 22 nautical miles range so that's a lot of Ferry's you can change into battery electric."


Nearby a farm of wind turbines produces 130 percent of the electricity needed for Ærø. Some of the surplus power is used to charge Ellen’s batteries.


Clean, quiet and comfortable


Ferries are currently the largest polluters on the island but Ellen will save 2,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year with her four quiet engines and 56 tonnes of lithium ion batteries producing up to 4.3 megawatt hours and no requirement for an oil-fired back-up generator.


Trine says: “At all times we reserve a certain amount of energy in each battery room. So, if you lose a battery room or have to shut it down for some reason there will always be enough energy left in the other room to sail back to harbor or do all the emergency procedures that could be involved in an emergency at sea.”


Upstairs there are all the comforts of a classic ferry and more. There is no noise or smell, which ensures a quiet crossing for passengers. And the crew have quickly became familiar with the new techonology.


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