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Maersk to pilot 600 kWh containerized battery system on container ship

A containerized 600 kWh marine battery system will be installed in a trial on board the Maersk Cape Town in December 2019 to improve vessel performance and reliability while reducing CO2 emissions.

Maersk Cape Town was built in 2011 by Hyundai Heavy Industries. Maersk Cape Town length overall (LOA) is 249.12 m, beam is 37.4 m and maximum draught is 13.5 m. Her container capacity is 4500 TEU.


This trial will provide a greater understanding of energy storage that will support Maersk in moving towards further electrification of its fleet and port terminals. Maersk will continue to facilitate, test, and develop low-carbon solutions on our journey to become carbon neutral by 2050.

—Søren Toft, Maersk COO

Propelling marine vessels with battery power alone is still years away from being a technically- and economically-viable option, Maersk says. However marine battery systems can be used to improve the efficiency of a vessel’s onboard electrical systems such as the Maersk Cape Town’s generators. By maintaining the vessel’s auxiliary generators at a more optimal load, and avoiding running generators when not needed, overall fuel consumption can be reduced.

Additionally, it will support the generators with up to 1,800 kVA of power during rapid changes in electrical load such as thruster operation. This can reduce generator maintenance requirements. The battery system is also capable of providing redundant power, which can improve reliability at sea by ensuring continuous power supply.


Maersk Cape Town includes a waste heat recovery system, which is a special feature of many Maersk container vessels. This system increases overall efficiency, as it allows the batteries to charge by capturing electrical energy from heat that would otherwise have been lost out of the exhaust gas system for the main propulsion.

The containerized battery energy storage system has been manufactured in Odense, Denmark by the system integrator and turnkey supplier Trident Maritime Systems. The battery system will be shortly transported to Singapore and installed on board the Maersk Cape Town.

The vessel is a Singapore-flagged 249-meter long container ship built in 2011 which sails between West Africa and East Asia. The first full voyage with the new system in place will take place next year and will be closely monitored to evaluate the performance of the system against the trial’s ambitions.

Battery modules will be operating within the container in conjunction with other electrical and control components. Maersk has also worked in close collaboration with the American Bureau of Shipping—the vessel’s classification society—to ensure safety and compliance.



Not clear how 600 kWhr is going to save much of the total emissions. I would assume that the ship has somewhere around 30 mW total power. 600 kWhr would run the ship for about a minute. Also 600 kWhr is only about 10 times the energy of a typical battery electric vehicle and it requires a full size container?

Thomas Pedersen


As mentioned in the article, this battery is only supposed to allow optimised operation of the auxiliary power engines.

For this particular application, it really makes sense to build the battery into a container...

Once the infrastructure is in place to allow battery power to transmitted to the ship grid, as many batteries as required could be installed by simply adding containers.

Sure, a 40' container is quite a large volume for only 6 Tesla batteries. However, boats are more sensitive to fire, so greater precautions need to be taken to avoid that, which often translates into battery types with lower specific energy. We also do not know whether this battery has been configured to be services by walking into it. Finally, the container may not be full but only contain as many cells, as analysis has found to be optimum, from a CAPEX/OPEX perspective. This needs to be tested as well.

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