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.
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.
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.