Yara has shown “great leadership” with the world’s first electric feeder vessel, said Leclanché’s chief executive – while batteries combined with fuel cells are the “next thing” for heavy long-distance transportation
The world’s largest maritime battery will be supplied to Yara Birkeland, the world’s first electric, autonomous feeder vessel. A 6.7-MWh Leclanché battery pack is being used. Delivery is slated for Q1 2020.
Leclanché chief executive Aril Srivastava told Container Shipping & Trade “This shows great leadership from Yara, they are large and profitable, and they do not have to do this. However, this vessel will save 40,000 truck trips a year.”
Highlighting the importance of using battery-powered propulsion in shipping, he said “It is one area that we took leadership in, in 2018 and it is the fastest growing part of our business and frankly the most profitable as well. Right now, it is growing like crazy, whether cargo or ferries, every large shipping company has a programme for using electricity.”
Using batteries has become easier as well. As Mr Srivastava pointed out, batteries have become compact and lighter as energy density is increasing, so for the same weight and volumetric dimensions, there is more energy.
He singled out that Leclanché batteries have moved from 145 Wh per kg in 2015 to 210 Wh per kg by the end of the year. “That is significant and helps us reduce our costs and helps market adaption.”
Mr Srivastava points out how Leclanché has grown its foothold in the maritime transportation market. “Look at what we have achieved in 24 months, cruise ferries, shorthaul ferries and cargo vessels.”
He was speaking to Container Shipping & Trade at the official inauguration of the e-ferry Ellen, for which Leclanché provided the energy storage solution
Leclanché is also providing a battery pack for Hyseas III, being built in Scotland, which is the world’s first hydrogen hybrid marine ferry. “I am really optimistic about combining hydrogen fuel cells with batteries and I think that is the next thing that will happen. People try to say fuel cells are batteries but in my opinion fuel cells are generators, they are not going to do the job of a battery. You cannot operate heavy vessels just with fuel cells, but if you let batteries do the job, then fuel cells can be onboard chargers, constantly charging the batteries, with the batteries moving the vehicle.”
He singled out how batteries could be used to power vessels for much longer distances if combined with fuel cells. “You can install a lot of hydrogen in a small space as long as you do it safely and then hydrogen fuel cells can fast charge the batteries – that is next thing for long-distance heavy transportation.”