Maersk pilots battery to improve power efficiency

Maersk pilots battery to improve power efficiency

Maersk is preparing to install a containerised 600 kWh marine battery system onboard the Maersk Cape Town as part of a trial to improve vessel performance and reliability while reducing CO2 emissions.

According to Søren Toft, Maersk COO, the trial will provide greater insight into energy storage to help the Danish shipping company move towards electrification of its fleet and port terminals. “Maersk will continue to facilitate, test, and develop low-carbon solutions on our journey to become carbon neutral by 2050,” said Mr Toft.

While marine battery systems do not yet have the power to alone propel large marine vessels, they can still be used to improve the efficiency of a ship’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, the battery will support the generators with up to 1,800 kVA 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.

“This exciting pilot – the first of its kind in the industry – will show the potential of battery technologies to keep improving the performance of our vessels while also reducing fuel consumption in our non-propulsion electrical systems,” said Ole Graa, Maersk head of fleet technology.

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 onboard the Maersk Cape Town in December 2019.

The vessel is a Singapore-flagged 249-meter 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 classification society American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) to ensure safety and compliance.