HH Ferries

The world’s largest battery-operated ferries will reduce co 2 emissions by 50%

Move over electronic cars. In 2017, commuters will be able to travel by battery-operated ferry, following investment in HH Ferries Group by First State Investment’s unlisted infrastructure team.

The historic ‘Floating Bridge’ ferry route – an area traversed by Vikings as early as the 11 th century – provides a connection between Helsingør (Denmark) and Helsingborg (Sweden) in just 20 minutes.

And winding the clock back to last century, the conversion to battery-operated ferries will see the crossing once again become carbon neutral, displacing the equivalent of 18,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

Infrastructure businesses with an ESG focus are attractive long-term investments. The FSI unlisted infrastructure team acquired 100% of route operator HH Ferries Group in January 2015 and approved the EUR26.3 million battery conversion project just over a year later.

The investment is economically viable and pays back over the medium term. Conversion to battery power reduces risks and exposure to price volatility of other fuel sources.

HH Ferries is the first in the world to convert vessels of this size to 100% battery power to service such a high frequency route. Due to the innovative nature of the project HH Ferries received a grant of EUR 13.2 million from the European Innovation & Networks Agency.

Proactive ESG management improves long-term investment returns and ensures alignment with clients' and other stakeholders long-term interests. Given that infrastructure tends to be a long life asset, the team searches for businesses with high quality ESG performance in their core operations.

They seek to manage an interest large enough to add value through engagement with management and project teams.

HH Ferries was a compelling acquisition due to its unique geographic location as a key traffic link and part of the TEN-T network corridor between European AAA economies.

The route is fully integrated into the road, rail and bus network in Denmark and Sweden. As an owner and provider of critical infrastructure, it is an inherent part of HH Ferries' strategy to actively safeguard the environment.

Since 2007, the ferries have adhered to emission regulations only introduced in 2015. Not resting on its laurels, HH Ferries is aiming to provide emission-free transport across the Oresund. As HH Ferries connects town centre to town centre; clean and noiseless transportation is paramount for the long term acceptance.   

The operator currently transports up to 50,000 passengers and 9,000 cars across the passage on a daily basis.

The technology that powers the ferries can recharge the 640 batteries on each vessel (equivalent to 10,700 car batteries) with voltage transmission of up to 11kV.

The battery-operated ferry Tycho Brahe is now going through its final test procedures, with the Aurora to follow at the end of the European summer.

Watch this video to see how it works.