Tunisia after the Arab spring movement is facing economic and social challenges, however the country continues moving forward with a strong sustainable development agenda. The government has adopted the objective to reach 30% of electricity by renewable energy and to lower the carbon intensity to 41% by 2030. Transport is currently one of the major consumers of fossil fuels.
Solar fuelled electric ferries represent a large potential for offloading road transport between the cities along the Mediterranean coast and for reducing transport related emissions. However, in order to make this opportunity visible, a concrete demonstration project is required. SINTEF aims to reconstruct traditional ferries into solar fuelled plug-in hybrid electric ferries. This will be done in partnership with local agencies. With SINTEF headquarters located in Norway, this endeavour is an excellent example of north-south cooperation.
The project will demonstrate how low emissions ferries with electric propulsion have significant potential for providing affordable public transportation services not dependent on the existing road infrastructure by diverting passenger traffic away from roads. Participants are eager to see the positive impact on Tunisian tourism on the major destination island of Djerba, where the pilot project will be applied.