German ferry company Oderhaff Reederei Peters has put a solar-electric ferry into service for the short crossing from the port town of Kamp on the German Baltic coat to the island of Usedom. Power comes from solar modules on the ship’s roof.

Usedom is a tourist destination and particularly popular with cyclists. The new ship carries 20 people and 15 bicycles at a service speed of 8km/h hour across the Szczecin Lagoon, which is only 500m wide at this point. The boat has a maximum speed of 15 km/h.

The solar modules generate a power output of 4.3 kilowatts, which is sufficient for the short journey, although the boat has an 80Kw/h back-up battery.

The 14.65m-long boat took steel sheet manufacturer Ostseestaal three months to construct with input from sister company Ampereship, a specialist in electric solar-powered ships and ferries.

The new emission-free ferry should save 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year compared to the diesel ferry it has replaced.

Meanwhile Ostseestaal and Ampereship, both based in the Hanseatic city of Stralsund on the German Baltic coast, have a full order book for similar electric-solar boats for various inland navigation services within Europe.