Grid Impacts of Fast Charging Electric Ferries

School of Engineering and Technology
RHD Clean Energy Academy
Dr Sanath Alahakoon
Dr Edward Palmer, Dr Shantha Jayasinghe Arachchillage, Australian Maritime College, University of Tasmania (AMC-UTAS)


Battery-powered electric ferries (e-ferries) have been identified as a promising solution to reduce emissions and are currently being deployed in several countries. When the ferry is docked at the terminal, batteries get charged from the grid. The battery system is designed to store a sufficient amount of energy to complete a routine trip so that charging is required only when the ferry is docked at the mainland terminal. The ferry battery system draws a significantly large amount of power for a short period during charging. The power grid in the mainland should be able to deliver this burst of energy to charge ferry batteries safely and efficiently. Power grids, especially around ports, are not generally designed to supply such large repetitive power pulses. Therefore, if a ferry started to draw such power pulses, it could cause instabilities and/or blackouts in the area.

Aims of the project:

  1. Identify charging requirements of EF batteries and power system arrangement on the mainland.
  2. Develop comprehensive models for the ferry charging system and the power grid including loading patterns at different times
  3. Assess the behaviour of the power grid under electric ferry fast charging and identify resultant issues.
  4. Develop solutions to address the identified issues, and test and validate proposed solutions through power system simulations.
Physical Sciences; Engineering; Technology
Electric ferries, Grid impact, Fast charging
Available immediately


This project is associated with the International Engaged Research Scholarship, which offers a 20% reduction in tuition fees for eligible international students.
Stipend Scholarship; Fees Scholarship

Other special notes

This project will be conducted in collaboration with Australian Maritime College, University of Tasmania (AMC-UTAS). In addition, a leading ferry operator in Australia and a power distribution company in Central Queensland will be assisting the project.

Funding is also provided by CQUniversity to support research higher degree student project costs and to support national and international conference presentations. This includes:

For masters by research candidates:

  • up to $4,000 in Candidate Support Funds
  • up to $3,000 for Candidate Travel Support

For doctoral candidates:

  • up to $6,000 in Candidate Support Funds
  • up to $4,500 for Conference Travel Support