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Batteries in the maritime industry keep on gaining momentum

Perspective v4

The maritime industry is focussing on becoming more sustainable and like in every other industry, climate change is a hot topic. That the decarbonization of shipping and new environmental regulations are the top two issues to focus on in the maritime industry, is shown by the The Global Maritime Issues Monitor.

These issues are pushing the maritime industry to innovate and we can expect this to result in interesting technological developments. One of these is the electrification of vessels, realised by either onboard battery rooms or the placement of containerized solutions. There is an increased interest in the retrofitting of vessels. Although the maritime industry can expect another year of disrupted supply chains, the electrification of vessels continues.

Gmf issues2022

The electrification continues.

Demand for battery implementation on vessels increased in 2022. This growth is in line with increased sustainability goals. However, not only batteries will support these goals: other sustainable energy sources, such as hydrogen and methanol, are also being implemented and tested. The latter is seen as an emerging fuel for maritime, which is yet to reach its full momentum, according to the Methanol Institute. These alternative fuels can be used in combination with an electric motor.

Furthermore, when vessels use batteries, this not only results in lower emissions; it also introduces lower fuel costs, reduced maintenance and lower noise emissions, as well as improved responsiveness, regularity, and safety. The demand for battery systems will grow even further the coming years. The increase isn’t only driven by new environmental regulations, but is also a result of the fact that battery systems suit the needs of vessels. For example, peak shaving reduces generator size in diesel-hybrid applications and increases efficiency. But to build vessels, all parts need to be delivered.

The disrupted supply chain stimulates finding innovative solutions

Due to circumstances such as the pandemic and political unrest, the supply chain has been disrupted in recent years. This has resulted in worldwide shortages of different components, the effects of which will continue throughout this year. While we hope the supply chain will recover, it is likely that problems throughout the chain will persist until at least 2024. Although we cannot predict how this disruption will develop further, we see that everyone in this industry is becoming accustomed to it. Instead of being surprised, people now move quickly to ensure limitation of possible problems or find innovative solutions. This problem-solving mindset is here to stay and may even lead to new innovations and improvements for everyone.

Retrofitting vessels becomes more efficient

As the supply chain continues to cause issues, this could be an interesting opportunity for shipowners to look into retrofitting an existing vessel. This way the lifetime of a vessel gets extended, it is cost effective while updating it to the latest standards. For example, ensuring that the vessel also meets new emission standards. With new modular systems, such as EST-Floattech’s Octopus Series, energy storage systems can now be designed to fit into available space. But if the demand for electricity asks for a larger battery system, a containerized battery system can be the solution.

Increase in demand for containerized solutions

In the past years EST-Floattech mainly delivered battery systems for battery rooms on board of different vessel types. Currently, we see an increased interest in containerized energy storage solutions, mobile as well as stationary. As space on board is often limited, which impacts the availability of space for a battery room, placing containers on board opens up new possibilities in terms of size. The new Octopus Series batteries in 10 ft. or 20 ft. ISO-certified containers can store 125 kWh to 3 MWh of energy. This large-scale energy storage solution brings new opportunities for the sailing of emission-free vessels.

Battery development

The maritime battery market isn’t only innovating in terms of new systems, different ways of implementation. There are numerous large research programmes focussing on maritime batteries such as the MENENS Consortium and project Green Transport Delta – Electrification that focus on circularity, recycling of used batteries, and finding new cell chemistries. The MENENS project will result in directly applicable knowledge regarding the engine performance of different combustion systems, fuel cells, and mechanical, electric, and hybrid propulsion and power systems. In this project, EST-Floattech’s input focusses on the development of battery technology for application of dynamic loads in a methanol environment. Maritime battery systems are here to stay and to contribute to decreasing maritime CO 2-emissions.

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