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Norwegian shipping industry pursuing battery-powered ships

The Norwegian shipping industry is teaming up to develop battery-powered ships. The first four hybrid vessels will start to sail in 2013/14. In 2015, these will be followed by the world’s largest electric ferry, which will regularly cross Norway’s largest fjord.

Some 120 managers representing the entire maritime cluster gathered at a DNV seminar last week.

15 years ago, the Norwegian cluster was looking into opportunities for gas-fueled ships. Today, Norway is the front-runner when it comes to LNG-fueled ships. Electricity stored in batteries on board ships is another opportunity in the future energy mix and another technology race has started. We have been running that track for a while already.

—Narve Mjøs, Director of Battery Projects in DNV

The first hybrid offshore supply ship, will start to operate within a few weeks. The Viking Lady, owned by Eidesvik Offshore, will have a battery package installed this spring. (Earlier post.) Later on, Norled will install a battery package on board an existing diesel-electric ferry. Norled intends to use this experience in building and operating their fully electric ferry. This will cross the Sognefjord 34 times a day, 7 days a week, transporting at a maximum 120 cars and 360 passengers starting in 2015.

The Edda Ferd, owned by Østensjø, is another hybrid vessel with battery and diesel-electric propulsion that will start to sail this autumn.

Hybrid systems will reduce energy consumption. When an offshore supply vessel is operating on dynamic positioning, there will be a major fuel saving potential. And when in harbor, the vessel should be able to simply use power stored in the batteries. Additional benefits are related to the reduction in the machinery maintenance cost and in noise and vibrations.

The trend towards more use of electricity and batteries on board ships is expected to continue, DNV says. New rules, tools and advisory services for battery-powered ships have already been developed by DNV. The Norwegian authorities are taking an active role, as they did when gas was being developed as an alternative fuel, and are pushing the maritime industry by setting strict requirements to reduce emissions, as well as offering incentives.



"..This will cross the Sognefjord 34 times a day, 7 days a week, transporting at a maximum 120 cars and 360 passengers starting in 2015."

At just 10 miles/round trip, this is over 124,000 miles annually.

Progress on this ship and it's batteries should be interesting. Maybe another nation is thinking "5X the energy density, 1/5th the cost, within 5 years" batteries.


Most diesel-electric locomotives and supply ships can easily be hybridized by adding e-energy storage and associated control units.

Fuel savings will depend on the relative size of the on-board e-storage units and the availability and frequency of quick re-charges.

Most ferry boats can normally be recharged at the end of each trip or every 20 minutes or so and are ideal candidates for hybridization.

Most diesel-electric locomotives could easily pick up a battery re-charge every few miles via overhead 'on-the-move' e-bars and/or during frequent stops. Many Trams already do that in Switzerland.

Of course, diesel fuel advocates will be against hybridization of ships and locomotives because it would reduce diesel fuel sales and associated multiple pollution.


The Norwegian authorities are taking an active role, ... such as "offering incentives".

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