All-electric vessel by Yara
Norway has introduced the world’s first fully-electric autonomous cargo vessel (ship), a move toward reducing pollution in the marine industry by adopting zero-emission vehicles. The self-steering container ship is owned by Yara Fertilizers, one of the top five fertilizer firms in the world.
The Yara Birkeland, the world’s first autonomous zero-emission container ship, has completed its maiden journey in the Oslo Fjord. Before the ship is approved as an “autonomous, all-electric container ship,” it must go through a two-year technology testing phase.
Next year, the Yara Birkeland will replace lorry haulage between Yara’s facility in Porsgrunn in southern Norway and its export port in Brevik, which is roughly 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) away by road.
It will cut the need for around 40,000 diesel-fueled truck trips per year. It will reduce carbon emissions by 1,000 tonnes every year, which is equivalent to 40,000 diesel-powered rides.
Yara’s Chief Executive Svein Tore Holsether stated that the company’s factory in Porsgrunn, one of Norway’s single largest emitters of CO2, is cutting CO2 emissions.
“Now we have taken this technological leap to show it is possible, and I’m thinking there are so many routes in the world where it is possible to implement the same type of ship,” he added.
Emission-free shipping by Yara
Since 2017, the business has collaborated on the vessel’s development with Kongsberg, a maritime technology company. The ship was built by VARD and will commence commercial manned operations in 2022. It will be run out of Massterlys’ Horten monitoring and operations center.
The electric vessel’s self-propelling capabilities are directed by GPS, radar, cameras, and sensors, allowing it to navigate past other boats and dock on its own. The technology was signed by Kongsberg, a company that makes guiding systems for both commercial and military use.
The Yara Birkeland boasts an all-electric propulsion system (2x 900kW Azipull pods and 2x 700kW tunnel thrusters) that is powered by a Leclanché 7 MWh electricity energy storage system. The vessel, which is 80 meters long and 15 meters broad, can transport up to 120 20-foot containers in a single voyage.
Oslo Port plans to reduce carbon dioxide, sulfur oxide, nitrogen oxide, and particulate matter emissions by 85 percent by 2030, making it the world’s first zero-emissions port.
“Norway is a big ocean and maritime nation, and other nations look to Norway for green solutions at sea. Yara Birkeland is the result of the strong knowledge and experience we have in the Norwegian maritime cluster and industry. According to Geir Håøy, CEO of the Kongsberg Group, “the project highlights how we have built a world-leading invention that contributes to the green transition and gives the excellent export potential for Norwegian technology and industry.”
Enova, the Norwegian government’s renewable energy corporation, has set aside up to NOK 133.5 million for the project.
“On the way to a low-emission society, transport emissions must come down to almost zero. To do so, we need projects that can transform the market, projects that can show the way for others and accelerate the speed of change in their industry. This is exactly what we believe the world’s first autonomous and all-electric container ship will do, says Nils Kristian Nakstad, CEO of Enova.
Green shipping is the future
Through the newly established Yara Clean Ammonia, Yara has begun the development of green ammonia as an emission-free fuel for shipping in parallel with the construction of Yara Birkeland.
“Renewable energy was our starting point in 1905. Now, ammonia can bring us back to our roots. Our large shipping network and existing infrastructure mean that ammonia has the potential to become the leading fuel for long-distance shipping globally,” says Magnus Krogh Ankarstrand, CEO of Yara Clean Ammonia.
Yara, the world’s largest fertilizer company, uses ammonia to make fertilizer and assist feed the world’s rising population. Simultaneously, current ammonia production accounts for 2% of global fossil energy consumption. This equates to roughly 1.2 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions.
“As the world’s largest producer of ammonia, Yara has launched an offensive plan of international scale, both to remove current emissions and to establish the production of new, clean ammonia,” says Ankarstrand.