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Maersk will be trialling the use of a containerised 600 kWh marine battery system onboard its containership Maersk Cape Town in December in a drive to demonstrate how electrification can improve vessel performance and reduce CO2 emissions.

In a statement issued today (6 November), Søren Toft, Maersk COO, said: ‘This trial will provide a greater understanding of energy storage that will support Maersk in moving towards further electrification of its fleet and port terminals. Maersk will continue to facilitate, test, and develop low-carbon solutions on our journey to become carbon neutral by 2050.’

Ole Graa, Maersk Head of Fleet Technology, added: ‘This exciting pilot – the first of its kind in the industry – will show the potential of battery technologies to keep improving the performance of our vessels while also reducing fuel consumption in our non-propulsion electrical systems.’

According to the Maersk statement: ‘Propelling marine vessels with battery power alone is still years away from being a technically and economically viable option. However marine battery systems can be used to improve the efficiency of a vessel’s onboard electrical systems such as the Maersk Cape Town’s generators.’

There are some commercial ships operating today on battery power alone – but these are ferries which are significantly smaller than the 4,500 TEU Maersk Cape Town and they are typically engaged in short-haul coastal or inland operations.

Maersk will be using the pilot battery system to maintain the Maersk Cape Town’s auxiliary generators at an optimal load, so overall fuel consumption can be reduced. Additionally, it will support the generators with up to 1,800 kVA of power during rapid changes in electrical load such as thruster operation. This can reduce generator maintenance requirements. The battery system is also capable of providing redundant power, which can improve reliability at sea by ensuring continuous power supply.

The Maersk Cape Town’s waste heat recovery system will allow the batteries to charge by capturing electrical energy from heat that would otherwise have been lost out of the exhaust gas system for the main propulsion.

The containerised battery energy storage system, which has been manufactured in Odense, Denmark by Trident Maritime Systems, will shortly be transported to Singapore and installed onboard the Maersk Cape Town.

The Maersk Cape Town sails between West Africa and East Asia and the first full voyage with the battery system will take place next year.

Maersk signed off its announcement of the battery trial by calling on innovators in battery technology to get in touch, because the shipping giant has ‘an interest in working with suppliers to grow these possibilities as the technology matures’.



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