Norwegian fertilizer company Yara has teamed up with Kongsberg to build the world’s first autonomous and zero emissions ship.
Named Yara Birkeland, the vessel will be the world’s first fully electric container feeder. Initial manned operation is planned to start in the latter half of 2018, shipping products from Yara’s Porsgrunn production plant to Brevik and Larvik in Norway. Remote operation will commence in 2019, with the vessel expected to be capable of performing fully autonomous operations from 2020.
Under the partnership, Kongsberg will be in charge of development and delivery of all key enabling technologies on Yara Birkeland including the sensors and integration required for remote and autonomous operations, in addition to the electric drive, battery and propulsion control systems. According to the company, its integrated control and monitoring systems are already capable of providing technology for remote and unmanned operations.
“Every day, more than 100 diesel truck journeys are needed to transport products from Yara’s Porsgrunn plant to ports in Brevik and Larvik where we ship products to customers around the world. With this new autonomous battery-driven container vessel we move transport from road to sea and thereby reduce noise and dust emissions, improve the safety of local roads and reduce NOx and CO2 emissions,” says Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO of Yara.
In June 2017, Yara will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Yara’s founder Kristian Birkeland. In 1905, the famous physicist discovered how to produce fertilizer by using electricity to extract nitrogen from the air.