DNV GL researchers develop concept autonomous, battery-electric short-range shipping vessel; 3,000 kWh battery
Researchers at classification society DNV GL have developed “ReVolt”, an autonomous, fully battery-powered and efficient vessel. Instead of using diesel fuel, “ReVolt” is powered by a 3,000 kWh battery. This reduces operating costs by minimizing the number of high maintenance parts such as rotational components. The vessel has a range of 100 nautical miles, before the battery needs to be charged. If the energy required for that is harnessed from renewable sources, this would eliminate carbon dioxide emissions.
The vessel has an average speed of 6 knots and faces less water resistance than other ships, which usually travel at about 8.7 knots. The slight loss of speed allowed the engineers to fit a straight vertical bow, further reducing water resistance along the ship’s entire profile and ultimately saving energy.
“ReVolt” does not require a crew and therefore goes a long way in tackling one of the shipping industries’ weakest links: the safety record. With an average of 900 fatalities per year the mortality rate in shipping is 90% higher than in comparable land-based industries.
Studies have shown that the majority of these accidents are caused by human error. Unmanned vessels take this factor out of the equation and make the operation of these ships more cost-efficient.
With no crew, there is no need for crew facilities such as the superstructure on board this vessel. The resulting increase in loading capacity, as well as low operating and maintenance costs, mean that compared to a diesel-run ship “ReVolt” could save up to $34 million during its estimated 30-year-life-time.
The concept-ship is currently still being tested.
Building and operating this vessel would be possible with today’s technology. ReVolt is intended to serve as inspiration for equipment makers, ship yards and ship owners to develop new solutions on the path to a safe and sustainable future.—Hans Anton Tvete, Senior Researcher at DNV GL