Operators are increasingly turning to energy storage systems as a means of providing environmentally-friendly power in short-range contexts, writes Ed Martin
Norwegian-Canadian Corvus Energy, a provider of energy storage systems (ESS) for marine, oil & gas and port applications, continues to see high demand for its systems across a range of sectors and is expanding production as a result.
As well as growing and upgrading its Vancouver, Canada factory with a 200 MWh semi-automated battery production facility, Corvus is planning a new product R&D, design and engineering facility to be completed by the beginning of 2019.
In Bergen, Norway, Corvus is planning a 400 MWh fully automated factory and marine system testing and development facility, with work expected to be completed in the second or third quarter of 2019. The Norwegian expansion follows “strong growth in the Norwegian market, resulting from new ferry tenders and high demand for hybrid energy systems in the offshore and shipping sectors,” according to a Corvus press release.
Noting that there is an ‘electric revolution’ taking place in the maritime sector, Corvus Energy chief executive Geir Bjørkeli said: “These strategic locations of our R&D and production facilities will enable us to quickly test and develop new systems that can meet the future needs of the industry. Further, by switching from manual processing to automated production, we will increase production capacity and remain price competitive.”
NCE Maritime CleanTech, an industry cluster of which Corvus is a partner, provided consultancy and project development assistance for the planning of the Norwegian factory.
NCE Maritime CleanTech’s chief executive Hege Økland said: “With a battery factory in the Bergen area, the industry will have close access to core products that are vital to ensuring that shipping is more environmentally friendly and more profitable for the shipowners.”
Established in Canada in 2009, Corvus expanded to Norway in 2015. Its investors include Equinor Technology Ventures, Norsk Hydro and BW Group of Singapore. It has worked on more than 140 projects, totalling over 100 MWh and 1.5M operating hours.
The company has received several high-profile contracts in recent months across a range of sectors. Most recently, Corvus’ Orca ESS was chosen by Turkish ship designer and builder Navtek Naval Technologies for the world’s first battery-powered, all-electric tug.
The Navtek NV-712 ZeeTUG is set for delivery in early 2019 and will operate primarily in Istanbul’s harbour for GISAS Shipbuilding Industry Co. With a storage capacity of 1,500 kWh, the Corvus ESS will power two Siemens propulsion motors with ABB thrusters and drive systems, integrated by BMA Technology.
Corvus director of sales Roger Rosvold said: “With ever more stringent emissions controls in harbours and coastal shipping routes, we expect interest in the battery-powered operation of a wide variety of marine vessels to grow significantly.”
In April, Stena Line and Callenberg Technology Group chose Corvus for the battery-power retrofit of Stena Jutlandica, a ropax ferry that plies the route between Gothenburg in Sweden and Frederikshavn in Denmark.
Co-financed by the European Union and the Swedish Transport Administration, the first stage of the retrofit will see Stena Jutlandica fitted with plug-in hybrid technology that can be charged from shore power, allowing the vessel to draw on battery power for bow thrusters and manoeuvring when berthing in port.
The end goal is for the vessel to be fully battery-powered, which would require an estimated 50 MWh of stored energy for its 3 hr 25 min crossing time.
Meanwhile, Norwegian Electric Systems (NES) and Corvus have signed a host of agreements for the Orca ESS to be fitted on several vessels on order for Norwegian ferry operator Fjord1.
In November 2017, it was announced that Corvus would be providing a 2.9 MWh system for an all-electric ferry to operate on the Halhjem-Våge route in Hordaland. “This vessel will set a new standard for all-electric ferries,” said NES vice president of sales Stein Ruben Larsen, adding “With the Corvus Orca ESS, it will be able to sail further than existing all-electric ferries.”
This development was followed in May of this year by a further agreement to provide two all-electric ferries that will operate on the Magerholm-Sykkylven route with a 2.9 MWh Orca ESS. At the time this deal was announced, Corvus noted it was also providing ESS systems for three similar Fjord1 ferries that would operate on the Hareid-Sulesund route. The five vessels, which measure 111 m in length and have a capacity for 120 cars, are expected to be delivered in 2019.
Mr Rosvold said: “NES are skilled and experienced electrical system integrators, and our close partnership with them in designing and delivering these innovative solutions is key to accelerating the adoption of energy storage systems.”
Another contract was announced several days later, for Corvus to provide storage systems for shore stations at Brekstad and Valset in Norway, with a capacity of 565 kWh. Corvus had previously agreed to provide the ferries that will operate on this route - which are fitted with a hybrid-electric diesel propulsion system - with 1,137 kWh Orca ESS units.
The Brekstad-Valset ferries will measure 66.4 m long by 14.2 m wide and will have capacity for 50 cars, six trucks and 195 passengers. The vessels are currently under construction and set to be delivered towards the end of the year.
And in February, Seacor Marine chose Corvus’ Orca ESS for four platform supply vessels operating in the Gulf of Mexico. Seacor Marine manager of engineering Tim Clerc said: “We are confident in the energy saving and safety elements of the Corvus Orca ESS for Seacor Maya and [we are] keen to start migration of more of our vessels to this unique, environmentally friendly and highly efficient power solution.”
Ports and harbours benefit from batteries
Battery storage systems are being put to innovative use in port-focused areas, such as on harbour tugs and pilot boats.
Tugboat designer Robert Allan has created an all-electric pilot vessel design for zero-emission transfers in ports.
The RAlly 1600-E design has a range of five nautical miles, a top speed of 20 knots and is an aluminium version of a steel predecessor. Robert Allan said fully electric propulsion has “significantly reduced” operating costs and could allow a typical pilot transfer to be completed with 30% of nominal battery capacity to spare.
The 16 m vessel has a fully electric twin-screw drivetrain and a bank of high energy-density batteries that would be recharged from shore power, as well as two small auxiliary generators for times when the pilot vessel has sailed beyond the range of its batteries and needs to return to a charging point.
Battery systems consist of 70 modules of Spear SMAR-11N-224 units providing a capacity of 815 kWh. These are arranged in a separate compartment which is located in the middle of the vessel between the accommodation and the machinery space.
These batteries are liquid-cooled and the entire space is air ventilated and fitted with a FirePro fire extinguishing system. The batteries also power the boat’s normal electrical load of lighting and auxiliaries.
The aluminium-hulled vessel has a similar weight to a steel diesel-electric pilot vessel, as the weight saved from the hull and the removal of the diesel engines and fuel compensates for the mass of the electric drive and batteries.
It has been designed with two 500 kW propulsion motors with permanent magnets and 750 V AC electric motors controlled by frequency convertors.
Meanwhile, naval architects at Offshore Ship Designers (OSD) have developed a series of Azistern-e tugs with overall lengths ranging from 20 m to 26 m and bollard pull capabilities between 35 tonnes and 75 tonnes.
OSD started this design project with the aim of creating a 22 m tug design that was compliant with IMO Tier III requirements. This would have hybrid propulsion, combining batteries with smaller diesel-electric arrangements for lower fuel consumption and emissions and fewer running hours when compared with diesel-only driven tugs.
Over several years of research, OSD determined that hybrid tugs would have 42% less fuel consumption with a diesel-electric and battery configuration in the engineroom, compared with a diesel-direct counterpart.
OSD technical manager Herm Jan de Vries said batteries reduce the load variations on engines and can provide enough power for most of the tug’s movements. Naval architects found there was a 75% reduction in engine running time when batteries are operating in parallel with diesel engines, based on an average sailing profile of a tug operating in a harbour in the Netherlands.
Azistern 2035e is the smallest of three hybrid propulsion tug designs at 20 m long, with a design draught of 3.75 m. It would have a tonnage of less than 200 gt, but bollard pull of around 35 tonnes. This would be suitable for smaller harbours and inland waterways.
OSD’s Azistern 2250e has a length of 21.45 m, draught of 4.6 m and bollard pull of 50 tonnes for operations in terminals and harbours. If an operator needs a terminal tug with more power it could use an Azistern 2575e design. This has a design capability of 75 tonnes of bollard pull from a 25 m tug. These designs have been approved by Bureau Veritas as electric propulsion tugs with unrestricted navigation.
With hybrid propulsion, transit sailing and manoeuvring can be performed using the batteries with zero emissions. When maximum bollard pull is required for towage work, diesel-electric propulsion is used with a boost in power from the batteries. “A hybrid system employed on a tug is the most fuel-efficient in terms of mobilisation and towing capability,” Mr de Vries said.
Each battery pack would have a design lifetime of 10 years and would weigh around 17,000 kg. They would each take up a rack floor area of 17 m2 and would be directly coupled to a common DC-Bus on each switchboard.
Eco Marine Power launches scaleable battery packs
Japanese Eco Marine Power, along with strategic partners Furukawa Battery and Teramoto Iron Works, has released its UB-50-12 battery packs for marine, offshore and land-based applications.
Available in 2.4 kWh and 3.6 kWh configurations, multiple packs can be installed together to provide a scaleable energy storage solution using a battery rack system. They incorporate Furukawa Battery Company’s UltraBattery technology, which combines ultracapacitor and lead-acid battery technology to achieve higher energy efficiencies and a longer lifetime.
Furukawa Battery general manager for overseas sales and marketing Yasuhiro Kodaka said: “Our UltraBattery technology is ideally suited for renewable energy applications and we look forward to promoting the use of renewable energy on ships together with Eco Marine Power.”