Maersk to Pilot Battery System on Board Container Ship

A containerised 600-kilowatt-hour marine battery system will be installed in a trial on board container ship Maersk Cape Town in December 2019. The battery will be used to run the ship’s generators at an optimal load to to improve vessel performance while reducing CO2 emissions.

‘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.’

Maersk is not the only company experimenting with a containerised battery. Last week, SWZ|Maritime spoke with Daan Geldermans of Skoon Energy, who is developing a similar marine certified battery available for rent through the Skoon Cloud platform.

Operating at Optimal Load

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. By maintaining the vessel’s auxiliary generators at a more optimal load, and avoiding running generators when not needed, overall fuel consumption can be reduced.

Additionally, it will support the generators with up to 1800 kilo-volt-ampere 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 includes a waste heat recovery system. This system increases overall efficiency, as it allows 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.

First Full Voyage in 2020

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

The vessel is a Singapore-flagged 249-metre long container ship built in 2011, which sails between West Africa and East Asia. The first full voyage with the new system in place will take place next year and will be closely monitored to evaluate the performance of the system against the trial’s ambitions.

Battery modules will be operating within the container in conjunction with other electrical and control components. Maersk has also worked in close collaboration with the American Bureau of Shipping – the vessel’s classification society – to ensure safety and compliance.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

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