Fore ship works on 40th marine battery project

2023-03-16T18:52:07+00:00 March 16th, 2023|Technology|

Finnish naval architecture and marine engineering firm, Fore ship has won its 40th shipboard battery project, details of which were not revealed.

These projects have involved consultancy, design and installation assignments, which have included the largest energy storage system (ESS) yet connected and work to standardise systems interfaces.

Spanning newbuildings and retrofit battery projects, Fore ship has been at the heart of the highest profile ESS work in the cruise and ferry sectors, also leading the charge to advance the use of battery power on board inland vessels, the company claimed.

According to the Maritime Battery Forum, nearly 600 vessels in operation feature batteries as part of their energy source solutions, while a further 190 ships are on order.

Fore ship estimated that around 645 MWh of shipboard battery power was in service worldwide at the start of 2023, around 400 MWh more than recorded in 2019.

“The case for batteries on board ships is increasingly compelling, whether owners are optimising fuel efficiency by exploiting spinning reserve, maximising engine efficiency with peak load shaving, or using batteries in specific circumstances as a zero-emission energy source,” said Fore ship’s CTO, Jan-Erik Räsänen (pictured).

Fore ship has built up a portfolio of shipboard battery consultancy services since its first project in 2018, extending from feasibility studies and concept design, to specifications, basic and detail design and project management.

The start-to-finish service covers everything from assessing ROI to battery sizing, safety and ship stability, supplier evaluation, systems integration, documentation for class and technical project management.

Among the 40 projects, highlights include the feasibility study, specifications, concept and basic design, and technical project management for shipping’s largest (10 MWh) battery installation, as part of a major cruise vessel retrofit.

This project required progressive work on battery system installation, all ancillary equipment and systems including transformer installation, converter separation, fire integrity, gas monitoring, cooling and ventilation.

As advances in battery technology improve, the power versus size/weight ratio, the usefulness of stored energy as a zero-emission propulsion solution and as a back-up in case of engine failure will continue to rise, according to Räsänen. “The increasing use of battery technology is making ships more efficient and greener, but also safer,” he said.

Fore ship has also taken the technical specification lead role in Current Direct, the Horizon 2020 project, which envisages swappable batteries as the central hub on a fleet of all-electric ships operating along European waterways.

This project has devised an ESS that can fit into a 20 ft container and has worked with class on standardisation for commercial scale-up.

While batteries are used sparingly for main propulsion today, Räsänen stressed that they convert energy to thrust with much higher efficiency than diesel engines. “Given IMO goals to reduce ship carbon emissions by 2030 and achieve 50% carbon reduction by 2050, regulators, class, naval architects and systems suppliers have a responsibility to harmonise technical standards for zero emissions,” he said.