Speaking at a recent Riviera Maritime Media webinar, Corvus Energy chief commercial officer Halvard Hauso discussed battery-themed topics, from safety to ROI
There is a question mark over whether class rules are challenging enough in terms of lithium battery safety and it is important to understand that type-approval from one maker is not the same as type-approval from another maker. If you visit the DNV GL website, they have a finder where you can search and find all the type-approvals available. From this, it is clear almost all makers include an exclusion study in their type-approval documentation, meaning type-approval essentially has different levels. Today, you can get type-approval if you let the whole module go into thermal runaway, but you can also get an approval if you have a single cell going into thermal runaway. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to understand the difference between type-approvals.
There has also been discussion as regards the challenges facing more traditional shipyards in terms of incorporating the automation processes on newbuilds. At Corvus Energy, we stress the importance of communication via the electrical integrator. There was a time when we would send all the signals from the battery – all the temperatures, all the voltages etc – to the electrical management system. But progress in this area means that is no longer necessary; now we only send the maximum and minimum voltage and temperature. We are now on the fifth generation of our battery management system and this is taken care of, so the yards do not need to take battery signals into their integration; it is all done by the electrical integrator.
Of course, one of the main reasons for switching to batteries is the potential for long-term savings. We have seen that batteries in many applications now have a payback time of between three- and five-years.
But that is only for the first design life; when you change the battery after 10 years, there will be a much shorter payback time for that second change, and for the third change and so on. That highlights the importance of considering the full design life of a vessel and the battery and all likely battery changes to best determine the real payback period.