Wednesday, September 8, 2021

New Battery Technology Packed Into Container for Emission Free Vessel Power

Exchange Units Simply Swapped for Fully Charged Replacement
Shipping News Feature

FINLAND – NETHERLANDS – Another innovation from technology group Wärtsilä as the Finnish group unveils a mobile battery container solution that will enable inland waterway vessels to operate with zero emissions. The first vessel to utilise the system commenced operations on 6 September.

The Alphenaar, a 104 TEU inland waterway container vessel, will carry beer for customer Heineken along the Zoeterwoude – Alpherium – Moerdijk corridor in the Netherlands. The first order for three of the battery units was from ZES (Zero Emission Services) BV, a Netherlands based company founded in 2020 by ING Bank, energy and technical service provider Engie, the Port of Rotterdam, and Wärtsilä themselves. The order was placed and two containers delivered in June 2021.

The battery containers are installed on the vessel, which has been modified to allow two units to be mounted on board. The system enables the vessel to operate on full electric power alone, with no carbon emissions being generated. The energy capacity is equivalent to that of approximately 36 electric passenger cars.

Up to now such installations have demanded static units which remain aboard the chosen vessel. When discharged, these new containers can be exchanged and charged onshore using energy from renewable sources. Willem Dedden, CEO of ZES explained why the units were a step forward thus:

“Within the Dutch transport sector, inland navigation accounts for 5% of the CO2 emissions. By switching from diesel fuelled to electric propulsion, an important step can be taken towards realising the Paris Climate Agreement targets. Ships participating in the ZES service will eliminate around 1,000 tonnes of CO2 and 7 tonnes of NOx per year.”

The exchangeable battery container is fully equipped with safety systems, including an on board fire protection skid. It is connected for remote monitoring. The operational and certification trials were all carried out successfully, commencing at the end of August, 2021. The concept, which is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, is based on a network of open access charging points.

Here, depleted battery containers can be exchanged for fully charged replacements. A ‘pay-per-use’ model has been set-up whereby ZES charges only for the cost of consumed renewable energy. This allows the vessel’s operating costs to remain competitive. Torsten Büssow, Director, Electrical & Power Management System, Wärtsilä Marine Power, said:

“Wärtsilä is committed to supporting all efforts towards the decarbonisation of shipping. This initiative is part of that commitment. We have leveraged our in-house know-how in maritime battery and hybrid systems, our shore power and remote connection capabilities, as well as our extensive experience in serving inland waterway applications for the development of this product.”