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RegGuheert
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BEV cargo ships discussion

Thu May 11, 2017 7:26 pm

I don't know if this will be a crowded field, but it seems that Yara has teamed up with Kongsberg to build a battery-powered container ship. Interestingly, this to-be-autonomous ship is intended to replace 40,000 diesel-truck trips each year with zero-emission transportation on the water.
Daily Mail wrote:‘Every day, more than 100 diesel truck journeys are needed to transport products from YARA's Porsgrunn plant to ports in Brevik and Larvik where we ship products to customers around the world,’ said Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO of YARA.

‘With this new autonomous battery-driven container vessel we move transport from road to sea and thereby reduce noise and dust emissions, improve the safety of local roads, and reduce NOx and CO2 emissions.’
Here are a couple of videos from the developers of the concept:





Frankly, I find the schedule to be extremely optimistic for such a challenging project. I doubt this ship will be on the water next year and I also doubt that it will be autonomous by 2020. Still, this looks like a very interesting idea.
Last edited by RegGuheert on Sun May 14, 2017 3:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
RegGuheert
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JohnBike
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Re: BEV cargo ships discussion

Sat May 13, 2017 7:17 pm

The referenced article contains not one word about how the batteries will be recharged, how long it will take, and what fuel source is used to generate the electric power for charging. If the loading and off-loading of the containers is as fast as on current container ships, recharging may be the main event keeping the vessel in port instead of under way.

Your skepticism is well-founded. BTW, I started my career as a marine engineer. I hated taking on fuel because it invariably caused delays in departure after all cargo operations were complete, so the engineer on watch during fueling became the official grief target.
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RegGuheert
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Re: BEV cargo ships discussion

Sun May 14, 2017 12:33 am

JohnBike wrote:The referenced article contains not one word about how the batteries will be recharged, how long it will take, and what fuel source is used to generate the electric power for charging.
No, they didn't name the fuel source, but since they said it is in Norway, we can be assured the fuel source is almost completely hydropower. In 2013, Norway produced over 96% of their electricity through hydropower.
JohnBike wrote:If the loading and off-loading of the containers is as fast as on current container ships, recharging may be the main event keeping the vessel in port instead of under way.
I suspect you are correct that this ship will spent most of its time in port. But I doubt that is a concern on the factory end of this venture.

It seems clear from the article that the ship is being designed to carry approximately 60 containers daily from a port at the factory to the main shipping port. If they plan to do that in a single round trip each day, they could plan for two four-hour journeys, leaving 16 hours for recharging. I imagine the ship's batteries will need to be sized for the trip from the factory to the main port since that is the portion where it will be carrying a heavy load and therefore will be much lower in the water. But the batteries will need to receive enough charge at the main port for the return trip, even if they do not get fully recharged. Perhaps that means they will need to get a 50% charge in about two hours. That should be very doable. Then a full charge can be obtained once back at the factory port.

It appears from the animation that charge is being provided from overhead contacts on the ship.
JohnBike wrote:Your skepticism is well-founded. BTW, I started my career as a marine engineer. I hated taking on fuel because it invariably caused delays in departure after all cargo operations were complete, so the engineer on watch during fueling became the official grief target.
Can you tell us how long it should take to unload about 60 containers? Is it much less than two hours?

It seems clear that there must be a strong business case for this company to make such an investment. I seriously doubt that the fleet of trucks costs anywhere near as much as this ship, but certainly labor and fuel costs must be what drives this new idea. Perhaps government subsidies are also playing an important role.

But my skepticism lies in three main areas:
1) Schedule risk: I seriously doubt they can put such a ship in the water sometime next year unless it is already well on its way to completion.
2) Technical risk: While I realize that large ships have employed electric drive systems for decades, those ships are not powered by batteries. I don't know enough about shipboard propulsion to know how much energy must be stored for such a journey, but it must be a massive amount. Managing such a large battery will be no small undertaking.
3) Reliability: Replacing a fleet of trucks with a single ship means that any reliability problems with the ship will have a massive impact on the company's business ventures. I suspect the trucks will see quite a bit of use in the early years of operation of this vessel. I suspect reliability will eventually dictate the addition of at least a second ship. At that point, I wonder if the financial situation still works. Only time will tell.
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Re: BEV cargo ships discussion

Mon May 15, 2017 1:04 pm

I could be wrong but I thought I read someplace they were putting the batteries in a shipping container box that was swapped out each trip, so you dock, pull the "low" battery out and drop in the fully charge one and your set to go. Seems to make since to make it modular so it would be easy to move like the rest. And they had some on board batteries to run the system while the batteries were swapped out and for emergency power and systems.

Sounds like a good plan for a predictable trip.
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Re: BEV cargo ships discussion

Mon May 15, 2017 1:53 pm

BrockWI wrote:I could be wrong but I thought I read someplace they were putting the batteries in a shipping container box that was swapped out each trip, so you dock, pull the "low" battery out and drop in the fully charge one and your set to go. Seems to make since to make it modular so it would be easy to move like the rest. And they had some on board batteries to run the system while the batteries were swapped out and for emergency power and systems.

Sounds like a good plan for a predictable trip.


That's a really clever solution for this application; I like it! They are already loading and unloading shipping containers, what's one more? It's less time than waiting to refuel, probably even with a liquid fuel like diesel.
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RegGuheert
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Re: BEV cargo ships discussion

Mon May 15, 2017 5:48 pm

GetOffYourGas wrote:
BrockWI wrote:I could be wrong but I thought I read someplace they were putting the batteries in a shipping container box that was swapped out each trip, so you dock, pull the "low" battery out and drop in the fully charge one and your set to go. Seems to make since to make it modular so it would be easy to move like the rest. And they had some on board batteries to run the system while the batteries were swapped out and for emergency power and systems.

Sounds like a good plan for a predictable trip.
That's a really clever solution for this application; I like it! They are already loading and unloading shipping containers, what's one more? It's less time than waiting to refuel, probably even with a liquid fuel like diesel.
Agreed this sounds like an intriguing idea. I did the math and you can fit 18 Tesla PowerPacks into a standard 12m container. That comes to 3.78 MWh or energy storage, which is right in the range of 3.5 to 4.0 MWh given as the preliminary specifications.

Any chance you can find the link to the mention of that approach, BrockWI? All I could find in the link above was that the temporary bridge would be containerized.
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Re: BEV cargo ships discussion

Mon May 15, 2017 6:26 pm

I'd provided a link to a GCC article about this in the Autonomous Vehicles topic, but it doesn't have any more details, just quotes from the same PR handout.
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Re: BEV cargo ships discussion

Mon May 15, 2017 7:12 pm

I wish I could remember where I saw that, it could have been some other project as well.
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