Battery and fuel cell research project comes to a close

Battery and fuel cell research project comes to a close
Viking Lady in operation, image courtesy of DNV GL / Eidesvik

Eidesvik Offshore, Wärtsilä Norway and DNV GL, partners of the FellowSHIP project that explored the use of batteries, hybrid and fuel cell technology, have announced the project has come to a close after 15 years of research.

Since 2003, the project has examined how marine fuel cell technology could be developed and implemented. In 2010, Eidesvik Offshore’s Viking Lady PSV was fitted with a prototype fuel cell as a result of the project’s research.

Over the 15-year time-span, the project demonstrated that hybrid battery systems, especially lithium-ion batteries can be used in maritime operations.

According to the partners, they decided to close the project due to the establishment of class rules and full commercialisation of the technology.

Bjørn-Johan Vartdal, maritime programme director for technology and research in DNV GL Group said: “FellowSHIP has been a flagship research project. The results from FellowSHIP have shaped our knowledge of battery and hybrid power on board ships and enabled the industry to implement innovations which will help to enable the next generation of more efficient and sustainable vessel.”

Ingve Sørfonn, head of technology & development for Wärtsilä Marine Solutions, Power Conversion added: “FellowSHIP has been an important project for demonstrating, validating and documenting new, efficient and low-emission technologies. The fuel savings and emission reductions achieved during the different phases of the project have been enablers for developing the maritime industry in a more sustainable direction.”

Vermund Hjelland, vice president technology and development for Eidesvik Offshore praised the efforts of the project and the resulting upgrades to four of its ships to battery systems in 2016. He said that without this project and the results, experience, and knowledge obtained, the battery upgrades to its fleet would not have happened.

“Battery and hybrid technology would have made an impact on shipping eventually, but looking back over these 15 years, I think we can safely say that the marine battery revolution started with Viking Lady,” said Øystein Alnes, Principle Maritime Engineer at DNV GL – Maritime. “This project has benefited a great deal from the funding and support of the Norwegian Research Council and is a perfect illustration of how public–private partnerships can help to bring new technologies to market and spur advances in key national industries.”