Battery manufacturer diversifies product line, opens new automated factory to meet demand
Just as robots, AI and improved sensor technology are driving changes and innovation in the offshore energy sector, so, too are batteries. Speaking at the grand opening of Corvus Energy’s new marine battery factory in Bergen, Norway in September, company chief executive Geir Bjørkeli, said: “There is an electric revolution going on in the maritime sector, and we want to deliver the best solutions in the industry.”
Industry data bears out Mr Bjørkeli’s claims of an ‘electric revolution.’ There are 369 vessels with batteries in operation and under construction — surpassing the LNG-powered vessel fleet of 354, according to data compiled by class society DNV GL. Of the current fleet of 176 battery-powered vessels in operation and under construction, 51% (190 vessels) are hybrid-battery applications, 23% plug-in hybrid (84 vessels), 18% pure electric (67 vessels) and 8% unknown (23 vessels).
Eidesvik’s Viking Energy was the first plug-in battery-hybrid OSV in 2015. Four years later, some 64 battery-equipped vessels are in operation or are under construction for the offshore energy sector. Those numbers are only expected to grow with improvements in battery technology, enactment of stricter emissions regulations and increased charterer demands for improved fuel savings and environmental performance.
With marine battery demand on the upswing across all marine sectors, the Canadian-Norwegian battery technology developer Corvus Energy opened a production facility in Bergen to be closer to growing customer demand in Europe.
“The Corvus team in Vancouver developed the groundbreaking battery solution that accelerated adoption of zero-emission and hybrid marine propulsion systems, particularly in Norway,” says Mr Bjørkeli. “With so many of our customers and partners in Norway, it only made sense to add production capacity here, which gives us flexibility and will speed deliveries. Further, automated production will help the Corvus ESSs remain price-competitive.”
Fully automated, the factory has a robotised and digitised production line with nine robotic stations and a capacity of up to 400 MWh in battery power per year.
Corvus will continue to produce its energy storage systems in Vancouver, which has a capacity of about 150 MWh, to supply North American and Asian markets. Corvus is expanding its Vancouver R&D centre and will continue to manufacture the prototypes and production runs of new products at the facility.
“We are investing in both of these strategically-located facilities to enable us to quickly develop, test and build new systems that can meet current and future needs of the industry. Forecasts of market growth vary, but we anticipate our facilities’ plans will satisfy demand for many years to come,” says Mr Bjørkeli.
“We have been involved in some capacity in almost every all-electric and hybrid marine project. This extensive experience has taught us that no one size fits all maritime applications,” says Mr Bjørkeli. “For that reason, we continue to invest in R&D and expanding our ESS product portfolio with the goal of being the leading supplier of innovative energy storage for the widest range of maritime applications.”
In an interview at Riviera’s Maritime Hybrid & Electric Conference in Bergen, Corvus Energy executive vice president Halvard Hauso said that the company builds seven different battery types in order to cater to vessel owner needs. Among those are the Corvus Orca, widely applied for OSVs, ferries, tugs, and fishing vessels, and Corvus Moray for subsea environments.
Corvus Energy’s Bergen factory will deliver its first battery in November.