Marine

Maersk puts a giant battery on a container ship to improve efficiency

Maersk puts a giant battery on...
Battery modules will be operating within the container in conjunction with other electrical and control components
Battery modules will be operating within the container in conjunction with other electrical and control components
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Battery modules will be operating within the container in conjunction with other electrical and control components
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Battery modules will be operating within the container in conjunction with other electrical and control components

Maersk has teamed with Trident Maritime Systems to create a 600 kWh container battery that can be placed on a container-hauling ship to provide power. The battery is now en route to be installed on the Maersk Cape Town container vessel.

The Cape Town, built in 2011, is flagged from Singapore and carries cargo between West Africa and East Asia. The battery will be installed on the ship in December 2019 and its first voyage with the new technology will happen early in 2020. The battery module was designed to take the place of a cargo container on the ship and can be charged in port, will take charge from the ship’s generator, and from the Cape Town’s waste heat recovery system. The lattermost system is in place on most Maersk ships and recharges the ship’s batteries by using the heat created by engine exhaust to create electrical power.

The battery itself will be used in several ways to reduce emissions and improve efficiency on the Cape Town. It will reduce the load on the Cape Town’s generator, will add power during peak load requirements and will reduce the need to run the generator during low-load times. This evening of the load for power usage will reduce generator use, improving generator maintenance costs while reducing downtime. The battery can add up to 1,800 kVA when required. It’s also a backup when the generator is not working or must be shut down.

Maersk plans to utilize the information gained from this trial run to determine if it's on the right track towards a sustainable future. “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,” explains Søren Toft, Maersk COO. “Maersk will continue to facilitate, test, and develop low-carbon solutions on our journey to become carbon neutral by 2050.”

Source: Maersk

9 comments
Username
Details on what kind of battery would have been nice.
christopher
Sails and Wind are sustainable. Fuel oil is not. Charging batteries from fuel oil makes those batteries HIGH carbon, which has nothing to do with any low-carbon future.
michael_dowling
I read somewhere that there were plans afoot to build a passenger liner with fuel cell powered electric motors. The fuel cells would be fed H2 from cryogenic H2 storage tanks. The engine room of a ship should be big enough to store enough H2 for any planned route. Batteries are totally inadequate for powering ocean going ships,as they are charged either by an onboard gen,as this one is,or from some source in port. There are no supercharger stations mid ocean.
Expanded Viewpoint
Supercharger stations? That's a good one! Do they have higher energy electrons than regular grade ones? How much carbon based fuel was burned to generate electricity to make the battery and then ship it? It never ceases to amaze me how hypnotized people get, and think that just because something is powered by electricity, it's suddenly some kind of panacea to environmental pollution and the entire area miraculously turns all green where there used to be a desert! Replacing one form of being short sighted with another one, is NOT any kind of a solution! Randy
ian
600 kw hr battery 1 gallon of fuel = 33 kw hr battery = 20 gallons of fuel fuel consumption of container ship in minimum fuel mode 650 gallons of fuel per hour. 20 gallons of fuel equivalent = 1.8 minutes of fuel big carbon saving? if you take 21,000 containers on a modern ship and use them all for this type of battery you can make it less than half way across the pacific. next step put a charging station in Hawaii then you can make it all the way, but wait a second, what about the containers?
Altairtech
600KWH is similar to one drop of water in a bathtub, compared to what a ship requires in energy to cross an ocean. What's the point of this exercise??? It's fascinating to see how some companies are willing to spend (waste) tens of millions, just to look good in front of politicians or anybody else who doesn't understand anything about energy.
Signguy
Expanded Viewpoint: Point well made! How much does it take just to make the batteries, let alone dispose of them when dead...
mystixa
Wow the commentariat here today is over critical to the point of stupidity. They aren't using this battery as the main drive unit. They aren't using this battery to replace the generator. They are using this as a test to INCREASE EFFICIENCY of their systems. Its a step, not the whole staircase. There are long periods of time, especially in ports where generators are left to idle for various reasons including providing standby power. That standby power might be just used for the coffeepot at some times, and may be used for hydraulics and other heavy loads at other times. During those periods of idle time the battery can be charging with otherwise wasted fuel. At times of peak load the battery can reduce the load on the generator, keeping it in a more efficient rpm range. The same can be done with the main motor, though using different unused energy sources to supplement instead of changing a very high mass motor for small control changes.
ljaques
While sails and wind are sustainable, they will never entirely power a huge ship. Norway now has an all-electric ferry which requires 4.3MWh of battery for short trips. https://electrek.co/2019/08/21/worlds-largest-electric-ferry/ They used lithium ion batteries. Trident Maritime Systems, supplier of the system to Maersk, does not easily disclose their technology.