The Norwegian shipping industry is teaming up to develop battery-powered ships. The first four hybrid vessels will start to sail in the year 2013-14, according to (Det Norske Veritas) DNV, an independent foundation with the purpose of safeguarding life, property, and the environment.
“15 years ago, the Norwegian cluster was looking into opportunities for gas-fuelled ships. Today, Norway is the front-runner when it comes to LNG-fuelled ships. Electricity stored in batteries on board ships is another opportunity in the future energy mix and another technology race has started. We have been running that track for a while already,” says Narve Mjøs, Director of Battery Projects in DNV who is in charge of the DNV seminar for the maritime cluster.
“International shipping is facing a tough time with escalating fuel prices, stricter environmental regulations and very low day rates caused by overcapacity in most segments. It’s during tough times that innovation is most important and also more efficient, as the purpose and goals become so much clearer,” says Remi Eriksen, CEO of DNV Maritime and Oil & Gas. “The Norwegian maritime industry is at the innovation forefront, and the world looks to Norway for technology and best practice. Innovation is not only something the industry wants. It is also necessary for survival.”
The first hybrid offshore supply ship will start to operate within a few weeks. The Viking Lady, owned by Eidesvik Offshore, will have a battery package installed this spring. Later on, Norled will install a battery package on board an existing diesel-electric ferry. DNV says Norled intends to use this experience in building and operating their fully electric ferry. This will cross the Sognefjord 34 times a day, seven days a week, transporting at a maximum 120 cars and 360 passengers – starting in 2015.
The Edda Ferd, owned by Østensjø, is another hybrid vessel with battery and diesel-electric propulsion that will start to sail this autumn.“Hybrid ships are similar to the well-known hybrid cars, like the Toyota Prius,” says Mr Eriksen. “A major advantage of these ships is that the payback time on additional investments is expected to be two-four years compared to more than 10 years for cars.”
When an offshore supply vessel is operating on dynamic positioning, there will be a major fuel saving potential. And when in harbor, the vessel should be benefited by simply using power stored in the batteries. Additional benefits are related to the reduction in the machinery maintenance cost and in noise and vibrations.