Norway Leading Battery-Powered Ship Development

Thursday February 7, 2013

Norway is poised to lead the world's development of hybrid and battery-powered ships, with three hybrid ships poised to enter service this year, according to a post on Det Norske Veritas (DNV)'s "Anticipating the Future" blog.

At a recent DNV seminar, Norwegian ship owners and government officials, as well as shipbuilders and others from the industry discussed the coming projects: Eidevik's Viking Lady, which will have a lithium-ion battery package installed in the spring; an effort by Norled to test the use of a battery package on an existing diesel-electric ferry; and a new Østensjø hybrid offshore supply vessel, Edda Ferd, which will be equipped with batteries and a diesel-electric propulsion system.

Viking Lady already features a 330 kW molten carbonate fuel cell, and the new battery, along with sensors to monitor the ship's functions, will make it a "floating laboratory of new technology," the blog says.

"Fifteen years ago, the Norwegian cluster was looking into opportunities for gas-fuelled ships," said Narve Mjøs, Director of Battery Projects in DNV, who led the seminar, according to a DNV press release.

"Today, Norway is the front-runner when it comes to LNG [liquefied natural gas]-fuelled ships.

"Electricity stored in batteries on board ships is another opportunity in the future energy mix and another technology race has started."

Remi Eriksen, CEO of DNV Maritime and Oil & Gas, said rising fuel prices, new environmental regulations, and low rates are forcing the shipping industry to innovate.

"The Norwegian maritime industry is at the innovation forefront, and the world looks to Norway for technology and best practice," he said.

The new hybrid vessels were said to operate like hybrid cars, such as Toyota's Prius, switching between diesel and battery power, or using some of each depending on operating conditions.

"A major advantage of these ships is that the payback time on additional investments is expected to be 2-4 years compared to more than 10 years for cars," Eriksen said.