Yara Marine Technologies started the Yara Marine X program earlier this year to accelerate start-ups that are pioneering green marine technologies. Following months of search, Phoenician Energy’s aluminium-air batteries have been chosen as the winner.
“Phoenician Energy’s use of aluminium-air battery technology for the maritime industry, triggered our scientists’ curiosity. Their container battery is especially interesting. The concept taps into several recent trends and developments, such as circular economy and electrification of marine vessels. We believe this technology may have an important role to play in a greener maritime industry for future generations,” explained Thomas Koniordos, CEO of Yara Marine Technologies.
The global IMO 2030 and 2050 targets, the EU taking shipping into ETS and the UK including shipping into its net-zero target, all push for substantial reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In addition, several ports are introducing restrictions on local emissions. The amount of all these regulations, and several other trends, move towards a substantial electrification of the maritime sector.
Phoenician Energy licenses aluminium-air battery technology and adapts it to marine applications. The company has developed a 4,8 MWh system enclosed in a 20-foot shipping container.
“Al–air batteries have one of the highest energy densities of all batteries, with more than four times the capacity of the conventional lithium-ion battery. Higher density means that longer ranges can be achieved, and a smaller footprint means more space for revenue producing cargo. In addition, we do not recharge our system onboard, instead we replace it with a fully charged one, eliminating downtime that would be required for recharging conventional batteries. The consumed battery is then reequipped with new aluminium and it is ready to go another turn. Furthermore, Aluminium-air batteries do not lose capacity when not in use nor do they degrade over time. They are also inherently safe, with no danger of temperature runaway” said Udi Erell, founder and president at Phoenician Energy.
Jesper Hellström, Yara Marine’s head of research and development, commented: “Charging an Al-air battery actually happens at an aluminium production plant. You may say that the battery consumes aluminium, the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust. Furthermore, the alumina generated from the aluminium in the battery, as it depletes, is a valued commodity. The alumina can be recycled back to aluminium at the aluminium plant, but it also has uses in other industries. Together with Yara Marine Technologies, Phoenician Energy will move into its next phase.”
In less than a month, Phoenician Energy will be the first start-up to enter the Yara Marine X’ six-month program, after which Yara Marine Technologies may choose to invest in the company and its technology.