World’s cleanest lake is getting a new flying electric hydrofoil ferry

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World’s cleanest lake is getting a new flying electric hydrofoil ferry


New Zealand’s Lake Manapōuri is often described as the cleanest lake in the world due to its crystal clear water fed by melting glaciers that carved the lake, as well as yearly snow melt. Now the lake’s hydro-electric power station is getting even cleaner with the adoption of the world’s first flying electric hydrofoil ferry.

New Zealand renewable energy company, Meridian Energy, signed an agreement with Swedish electric hydrofoil boat maker Candela that will see the new Candela P-12 electric ferry shuttle the station’s workers back and forth across the lake.

Since Meridian produces only renewable energy, the company’s emissions are internally generated from sources like combustion-engine vehicles and boats. Replacing those emissions sources with electric vehicles can help remove the company’s harmful emissions altogether.

Switching to using the P-12 electric ferry on Lake Manapōuri is expected to save 240 tons of carbon emissions each year.

candela p-12 ferry

Lake Manapōuri is widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s most beautiful lakes. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is located in the world-famous Fiordland National Park. As the site of Meridian’s Manapōuri hydropower station, the lake plays a key role in the country’s hydro storage and produces enough electricity to power more than 600,000 New Zealand homes.

Tania Palmer, Meridian Energy’s GM of Generation, explained that the Candela P-12 electric ferry is one of several ways Meridian will reduce its emissions from internal transport as part of the company’s goal to cut its emissions by 50% before 2030. “We have to be bold and innovative to reduce emissions, and this deal is the result of a global search to identify the latest and best technology for our needs,” said Palmer. “The Candela P-12 is an exciting replacement for the diesel ferry we currently use to transport staff and contractors across the lake to the power station. It’s set to drastically reduce emissions, and at the same time give our team arguably the best commute in the world.”

The announcement also marks the first customer outside of Europe to operate the P-12 electric ferry, which will begin serving the hydro station next year.

“We’re excited to partner with a global leader in the transition to sustainable energy and global decarbonisation, and are thrilled that we’ll soon see our P-12 in action on Lake Manapōuri,” says Gustav Hasselskog, CEO of Candela. “We thank Meridian for leading the charge towards a cleaner, greener future.”

The P-12’s striking look as it flies across seemingly undisturbed water comes from its electric hydrofoil design. The ferry uses ultraquiet underwater motors and computer-controlled underwater hydrofoil wings that lift the boat out of the water for smooth and efficient ride.

In fact, it’s so efficient that it uses around 80% less energy than a typical V-hull boat. That increased efficiency allows for a smaller and lighter battery pack, which is supplied by the electric vehicle company Polestar.

Just as importantly, the unique design of the P-12 creates a minimal wake of just 15 cm (6 inches) high when cruising at 25 knots (46 km/h) or 29 mph), which significantly reduces the impact on Lake Manapōuri coastlines and ecosystem.

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