Norway aims for leading position in developing battery powered ships

February 06, 2013 // By Paul Buckley
The Norwegian shipping industry is teaming up to take a leading role in developing battery-powered ships. The first four hybrid vessels will start to sail in 2013/14.

In 2015, the world largest fully electric ferry, will start to regularly cross Norway's largest fjord.

“15 years ago, the Norwegian cluster was looking into opportunities for gas-fuelled ships. Today, Norway is the front-runner when it comes to LNG-fuelled ships. Electricity stored in batteries on board ships is another opportunity in the future energy mix and another technology race has started. We have been running that track for a while already,” said Narve Mjøs, Director of Battery Projects in DNV and in charge of a DNV seminar that hosted 120 managers representing Norway's entire maritime cluster.

“International shipping is facing a tough time with escalating fuel prices, stricter environmental regulations and very low day rates caused by overcapacity in most segments. It's during tough times that innovation is most important and also more efficient, as the purpose and goals become so much clearer,” said Remi Eriksen, CEO of DNV Maritime and Oil & Gas. “The Norwegian maritime industry is at the innovation forefront, and the world looks to Norway for technology and best practice. Innovation is not only something the industry wants. It is also necessary for survival.”

The first evidence of battery innovation, the first hybrid offshore supply ship, will start to operate within a few weeks. The Viking Lady, owned by Eidesvik Offshore, will have a battery package installed this spring. Later on, Norled will install a battery package on board an existing diesel-electric ferry. Norled intends to use this experience in building and operating their fully electric ferry. This will cross the Sognefjord 34 times a day, seven days a week, transporting at a maximum 120 cars and 360 passengers - starting in 2015.

The Edda Ferd, owned by Østensjø, is another hybrid vessel with battery and diesel-electric propulsion that will start to sail in autumn 2013.

Hybrid systems will reduce the energy consumption. When an offshore supply vessel is operating on dynamic positioning, there will be