Interest in hybrid propulsion systems that can be used on small vessels has increased significantly in recent years. They can replace inefficient and environmentally burdensome conventional systems based on diesel engines. Hybrid propulsion has many advantages such as high energy efficiency and virtually noiseless operation, and therefore it fits well with the current trends of “green shipping” and “zero emission”. The aim of the research conducted was to examine and analyse the varied energy demand of a small inland ferry with electric propulsion depending on the navigation strategy. The work included tests carried out on a model of the vessel. Conventional resistance tests involving towing the model at a constant speed proved to be of no use for the unit, which, during a short voyage, moves with variable speeds and manoeuvres. Therefore, atypical and unique tests were performed to determine the energy consumption during the acceleration of the unit and the parameters of navigation with the propulsion turned off. The work resulted in calculated forecasts of energy consumption by the ship depending on the adopted cruising style and a proposal of the most energy-efficient way to cross the shipping route connecting the two banks of the Motława River in the city of Gdańsk.
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