14 new electric ferry projects in Denmark

09 January 2023 - Published by Katharina Rubahn
14 new electric ferry projects receive support from the state of Denmark

It is getting increasingly important to evaluate all sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Denmark has a legally binding goal of reducing emissions by 70 per cent by 2030 with respect to 1990. As a municipality, it is therefore essential to eliminate the most significant emission sources; for small municipalities, diesel-driven ferries contribute up to 20% to their total CO2 emissions, states Jan Fritz Hansen in an interview with DR*  Moreover, it has proven to be cheaper to operate electric ferries, as expenses for fuel, maintenance and staff is lower than for conventional diesel ferries, which makes an investment in electric vessels economically viable within the first 5-8 years of operation**. For the public, battery-driven ferries are popular as they are known for being quiet and not disturbing the passengers’ experience outdoors with fume.

It is no wonder that 24 municipalities and eight ferry companies applied for a national call at the end of 2021 and in 2022 that supported projects with up to 25% of their costs for building new or retrofitting existing ferries to green ferries with a considerably reduced CO2 emission. The state offered over 37 million Euros, supporting 14 projects, thirteen from municipalities and one commercially driven route.

To date, there exist only a few electric ferries in Denmark that allow the transport of cars:

  • Helsingør – Helsingborg with two ferries
  • Ærø – Als med ‘Ellen’ from 2019
  • Esbjerg – Fanø with 1 ferry
  • E-ferry at Limefjord between Aalborg and Nørresundby is in the final stage

 The new electric routes will be:

  • Faaborg-Avernakø-Lyø
  • Udbyhøj kabelfærge
  • Stigsnæs-Agersø
  • Stigsnæs-Omø
  • Svendborg-Skarø-Drejø
  • Kleppen-Venø
  • Rudkøbing-Marstal
  • Havnsø-Nekselø
  • Havnsø-Sejerø
  • Kragenæs-Femø
  • Ærøskøbing-Svendborg
  • Svendborg-Hjortø
  • Hals-Egense
  • Tunø-Hov


Four supported projects will retrofit existing diesel ferries to battery-driven ones, and ten new ferries will be built. The supported ferries are expected to reduce CO2 emissions by approx. 450000 tons during their lifetime. Our project partner, Ærø municipality, will build two new electric ferries and can contribute with the experience from the electric ferry ‘Ellen’.

The project manager of the ferry project on Ærø, Cecilie Larsen, is excited about contributing to a greener maritime industry:

“Our experience from the EU-funded E-ferry project operationalising the fully electric ferry, E/F Ellen, is precious in the new ferry projects and has left us no doubt that also the new ferries should be electric. The Municipality’s involvement in the ZEM Ports NS project has given us important insights into the crucial land-based infrastructure that electric ferries entail. The conclusions from the analyses and simulations run on the energy consumers in the proximity of the harbour have prepared us so we can ensure a good interplay between land and sea as well as the  advantages that can be capitalised on if the broader ports environment is taken into account when planning charging and grid connectivity.”


** Evaluation report, E-ferry project, 2020