Thursday, June 23, 2022

Autonomous ship Yara Birkeland to begin Testing in Norway

Last month, the Yara Birkeland completed its maiden voyage to Oslo and then sailed on to Posgrunn, the southern Norwegian production site of Yara International. Yara International is a fertilizer manufacturer and owner of the vessel. The company claimed that it is the first fully electric and autonomous container ship.

“Yara is constantly seeking opportunities to reduce its climate footprint and fulfil its main vision to responsibly feed the world…..Embarking on a technically challenging project as Yara Birkeland together with our technology partner Kongsberg Maritime is … a small endeavour in the large challenge we, as one out of many industrial players, are embarking on.”

Jon Sletten, project owner, Yara Birkeland

“A zero-emission vessel to bring our product from production and out to the markets shows that it is possible to make a positive contribution to the required change in the release of climate gases….Battery technology from Leclanché provides us with a battery-driven vessel charged with electricity from the green hydroelectric power. This is a willful step in a green direction and an encouragement for others to also invest in future technologies.”

Jon Sletten, project owner, Yara Birkeland

The Yara Birkeland will soon begin commercial operations while beginning a two-year test period, prior to entering fully autonomous operation on a route off the coast of Norway.

The container ship is about 80 m (262.4 ft.) long and 15 m (49.2 ft.) wide, with a deadweight of 3,120 tonnes (6.8 million lb.) or 120 standard containers (TEU). This electrically powered “green vessel” will operate at a service speed of approximately 6 knots, with a maximum speed of 13 knots. It is fully powered by a high-energy lithium-ion battery system from Leclanché SA in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland.

Leclanché said its technology is based on more than 100 years of battery and energy storage innovation. The company claimed that its culture of German engineering with Swiss precision and quality make it a trusted partner for companies and governments interested in the disruption of the energy distribution network and next-generation transportation.

In addition, Leclanché said it is one of the few European battery suppliers that has its own cell production facilities and the complete know-how to produce high-quality lithium-ion cells—from electrochemistry to battery management software and an array of battery systems. The company has business units organized around stationary storage systems, specialty batteries, and electrified transports.

Leclanché supplied the Yara Birkeland with a 6.7 MWh battery system, which represents the same energy as 130 Tesla Model 3 batteries.

“Leclanché’s Marine Rack System provides 30% higher energy density and up to a 230% greater life cycle than competitive systems – in addition to its reputation for having the safest battery system design…Thanks to Yara, the maritime industry has entered a new era where sustainable shipping is demonstrated as a viable solution for a very large range of ships and businesses.”

Guillaume Clement, vice president of e-Marine at Leclanché

Once the test period is completed, the Yara Birkeland will navigate on a completely autonomous basis, transporting containers products from Yara International’s production plant in Herøya to the port of Brevik.

Yara International said it is pursuing a zero-emission sustainability strategy with the all-electric drive. It will also reduce noise and air pollution while in port.

“We are very proud to be able to contribute to the success of this unique project….With our battery system for the Yara Birkeland, Leclanche contributes to lower greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 40,000 [diesel] container truck road journeys per year, not to mention road safety improvements, noise pollution reduction, and increased logistics efficiencies.”

Anil Srivastava, CEO of Leclanché.

“The annual operating cost savings in both fuel and crew, estimated at up to 90%, makes autonomous and battery-powered ships viable in international trade,” he said. “Combined with new emerging technologies and the integration of alternative green fuels, including clean hydrogen, we will continue opening new possibilities for our customers, the industry and the planet”

Anil Srivastava, CEO of Leclanché
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