Chinese All-Electric River Cruise Vessel is Set to Break Records

Coutesy CATL

Published Jan 10, 2021 11:34 PM by The Maritime Executive

Wuxi Saisiyi Electric Technology, a subsidiary of China Shipbuilding Corporation, is set to deliver one of the world's largest all-electric vessels in late 2021. The future Yangtze River Three Gorges 1 - a battery-electric river cruise vessel with 7.5 megawatt-hours of energy storage capacity - is on schedule for launch in July 2021 and commissioning in November. 

The pilot project is a demonstration sponsored by China's Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Changjiang Ship Design Institute (CSDI) provided the design and leading battery manufacturer CATL provided the 10,000 battery cells that make up the vessel's power supply. For safety, the cells are divided into four separate compartments, with an additional backup battery system for emergency use.

The new vessel will be operated by Yichang Transportation, an operator of day cruises on the Yangtze River; Yichang has an existing fleet of five vessels and a newly-built cruise terminal. In operation, the new river cruise ship is expected to displace 17 tons of NOx per year, and will emit no particulate matter. 

The current record-holder for the most powerful all-electric vessel is the container feeder Yara Birkeland, an autonomous, battery-powered vessel built for Norwegian fertilizer manufacturer Yara. The ship has a battery pack rated at 7.0 megawatt-hours. 

The largest battery-powered passenger vessel in operation is the electric ferry Ellen, which has a capacity of 4.3 megawatt-hours. The Ellen operates on a set route connecting the ports of Soby and Fynshav in southern Denmark.