Fuel-saving Potential From Hybrid Vessels, Analyst Finds

Wednesday December 19, 2018

Adding battery technology to an existing vessel can save on fuel consumption as the battery factor allows for a smaller engine, an analyst has said.

Luke Gear, technology analyst at IDTechEx, has pointed out that commercial ships carry large engine units to cope with peak loads.

But by adding batteries, engines can be smaller and set to run at their optimum high load, Gear said in a new report on hybrid and electric vessel technology. Subsequent savings on fuel -- from 10% to 30% depending on vessel size -- are significant.

"For a $500,000 battery in a mid-sized vessel, short returns on investment make the investment attractive," according to Gear.

But it is not all plain sailing on electric marine power as the power source puts onshore local distribution networks under pressure by drawing megawatts of current in short periods of time.

"One solution to this [problem] has been to install shore-side stationary storage to help handle the additional load, and to delay infrastructure upgrades," Gear said.

In addition, second-life maritime batteries could be put to good use as dismantling them to recycle the raw materials wastes the engineering.

"The first used batteries are likely to be returned in the early 2020s, a decade after the first hybrid vessels were christened," the analyst said.

Gear's comments were reported by scientific website Scitech Europa.