With the knowledge that more people will be going to and from the island combined with the fact that the Schulpengat ferry was up for renewal, the people of Texel focused on a new innovative flag ship back in 2010. The objective; a cost-efficient, clean and sustainable connection between Texel and the main land, sustainable both technologically and with regard to the overall experience, whilst making sure the journey is still affordable. This goal has resulted in a successful collaboration between the Koninklijke NV Texelse Eigen Stoomboot Onderneming (TESO), naval architect and project bureau C-Job (Hoofddorp) and Design Studio Vripack (Sneek).
Image by Freezing Pixels
Innovation at its best
The result: the new Texelstroom, equipped with the newest technological developments and innovation such as a T-shaped cross-section which ensures a car capacity improvement of 14%, a CNG/Diesel Hybrid propulsion which make the ship more cost-efficient and thus more environmentally friendly. Last but certainly not least, the designers drew inspiration from the island to make sure the high-quality interior and exterior of the Texelstroom resemble the island itself.
By realizing a ship like this the ferry service of Texel would like to contribute to the preservation of the natural riches of the beautiful but vulnerable Waddenzee. The TESO ferries travel back and forth through this vibrant area on a daily basis which has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage list.
The new ship is 135 meters long and 28 meters wide, which makes it 5 meters taller and wider than her predecessor. Even though the new Texelstroom is somewhat bigger it is still able to dock in the same port as the Dokter Wagenmaker. The extra driving lanes which have been placed next to upper car deck are situated over the bollards of the port, because the docking harbour is relatively narrow. This was quite a puzzle for the naval architects of C-Job, but they, together with TESO, have achieved it by applying a T-shaped cross-section. The construction has resulted in an increase of capacity from 300 to an amazing 340 cars.
Low fuel consumption does not only minimize the impact on the environment but will also ensure affordable prices for those travelling on the Texelstroom
Getting across responsibly
Next to assuring a reliable connection with sufficient capacity TESO has prominently invested in reducing future fuel consumption. Consequently, TESO chose the remarkable combination of a main engine that runs on compressed natural gas (CNG – supplied by Pit Point clean fuels) which powers the electrical propulsion as well as the batteries (which will also be powered by sustainable energy) next to the diesel generators. 462 solar panels can also be found on the top deck to make the Texelstroom get across even more responsibly. Especially the combination of the CNG and the use of batteries is innovative and has never been done on this scale. The whole contributes to a clean, fuel efficient and thus cost efficient cross over by applying ‘peak shaving’ at its best. The use of natural gas will result in a reduction of CO2 emission by 20% and soot emission will belong to the past (100% reduction). The intended outcome will be low fuel consumption and therefore less fuel costs, which does not only minimize the impact on the environment but will also ensure affordable prices for those travelling on the Texelstroom.
The island on board
The island experience already starts on board the Texelstroom. Designer studio Vripack has implemented specific features of the Wadden area and the adjacent dune landscape in both the interior and exterior design. The line pattern of the side view has been inspired by the main lines of the little tern. Pine cone scales are the source of inspiration for the exceptionally big windows in the heart of the salon and the colours which have been used bear a resemblance to both the dunes and the wads. The passengers’ needs and wishes are central with regard to general usage. The interior of the salon has been decorated with a pine tree native to Texel and serves as a meeting point for travellers. The salon deck has been equipped with various island-inspired seating areas, high tables with charging facilities for mobile hardware, an attractive restaurant, an interactive play area for kids and numerous screens which inform the passengers about the island and the surrounding area (made possible by the NIOZ an the NP Dunes of Texel). The ingenious routing aboard the ships allows the passengers to find their way easily and fast.
Image of the Little Tern made
by Ruurd Boonstra
The Texelstroom currently resides in Den Helder where she will be tested thoroughly the next couple of months as well as receiving some final touches. The estimated arrival and implementation of the new Texelstroom is this summer, but not before she is officially presented to the proud Texelaars and share holders. And proud they may be, because it is an absolute beauty.