China is Building Largest Electric-Drive Cruise Ship

all electric-drive cruise ship
Construction of the hull was completed for China's elecrtice-drive cruise ship (Three Gorges Tourism)

Published Aug 19, 2021 3:52 PM by The Maritime Executive

China is building what it is calling the world’s largest all electric-drive cruise ship for use on the Yangtze River. The vessel is part of a pilot project supported by the Chines government to advance the development of electric drive vessels.

Construction of the hull for the 328-foot-long Yangtze Three Gorges 1 was recently completed at the Yichang Shipbuilding Industrial Park in Yichang, China. The vessel is being built as a demonstration project to be operated jointly by the China Yangtze Power Company and the Hubei Three Gorges Tourism Company. The vessel, which will have a capacity of up to 1,300 people, is designed to promote the green development of Yangtze River shipping.

According to details released by the tourism company, the vessel will be powered by a battery with a capacity of 7,500 kWh. It will have the capacity to operate more than 60 miles on one charge. They are saying the advancements with the battery pack system will significantly extend the battery life and performance. 

In addition to the battery pack, they are developing other advanced systems to support the operation of the ship. A DC bus frequency conversion control power system will distribute power to all parts of the vessel and battery and energy management systems will assist in the efficient distribution of power. The vessel will also be enabled for remote monitoring while aboard there will be intelligent lighting and energy systems. 

Another key part of the project is the development of high and low-voltage charging systems. This will contribute to the efficient operation of the ship solving the problem of high-voltage charging electric vessels. According to the officials, it will be the first time a vessel has adopted a system of high-voltage charging.

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology first proposed the pure electric cruise ship in 2018 and the following year the concept designs were presented by the China Classification Society. The Ministry of Transportation lists this as one of its pilot projects. 

The vessel is currently being outfitted with the first trial voyage expected before the end of 2021. After delivery, the ship will operate on tourist routes along the Yangtze, China long river, and in the Three Gorges region.