HYCAS study

High Capacity Batteries Too Expensive for Ship Owners

Sailing on batteries can significantly reduce emissions, but the ones with a large capacity need to come down in cost to be a viable option for ship owners. This was the result of the HYCAS study, which researched the use of batteries in a 1700 TEU container feeder vessel. 

The research was carried out by a cooperation of MAN Energy Solutions, Corvus Energy, and DNV GL. The motive behind the study was the IMO target to reduce shipping emissions fifty per cent by 2050, as compared to 2008. 

Two Scenarios

The study made use of a container feeder because its fluctuating power demand allows for significant efficiency gains when applying hybrid systems. Two main scenarios were explored: 

  • a vessel built in 2020 with a 500 kWh battery system replacing one genset used for peak shaving and as a spinning reserve, and 
  • a vessel built in 2030, using a much larger 11 MWh hybrid system for zero emission port entry and exit. 

Under the first scenario, with the hybrid power train resulting in an approximately thirteen per cent total cost for the vessel, payback times are as low as two to three years. However, the larger system increases the costs of the vessel significantly, meaning that only with a combination of lower prices for the battery system and higher fuel costs than today would the system be economically attractive.

Simulation Tool Data Input

'Focusing on a container feeder vessel, we were able to generate a typical propulsion power profile from vessel speed data, as well as an artificial time-resolved electrical load profile from the according electrical load table. These are the most important inputs for the MAN simulation tool ECO-ESS. Together with the specific battery and engine characteristics, it is possible to optimise the size of a battery in a hybrid propulsion system for the 2020 and 2030 scenario as an optimum of additional CAPEX and OPEX savings,' said Carina Kern, MAN Energy Solutions.

Cargo Owners Can Boost Technology Uptake

'It is our hope that these study results will increase cargo shipowner confidence in seeking out new energy solutions, as a good economic rationale already exists for supporting auxiliary loads with a hybrid configuration,' said Sean Puchalski, Corvus Energy. 'As for the future propulsion scenario, perhaps we will not have to wait until 2030. We are already seeing strong demand for high capacity energy storage systems in passenger vessels. With the right leadership from cargo owners, we may see this translate to the merchant sector sooner rather than later.'

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.

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