Maersk to Pilot Test Containerized Battery System

Credit: Maersk
Credit: Maersk

Published Nov 6, 2019 6:45 PM by The Maritime Executive

A containerized 600 kWh marine battery system will be installed in a trial on board the Maersk Cape Town in December with the aim of improving vessel performance and reliability while reducing CO2 emissions.

Propelling marine vessels with battery power alone is still years away from being a technically- and economically viable option, says Maersk. However, marine battery systems can be used to improve the efficiency of a vessel’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 batteries will support the generators with up to 1,800kVA 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.

The Maersk Cape Town, like many other Maersk container ships, includes a waste heat recovery system. This system will be used to charge the batteries by capturing electrical energy from heat that would otherwise have been lost out of the exhaust gas system for the main propulsion.

“This trial will provide a greater understanding of energy storage that will support Maersk in moving towards further 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,” explains Søren Toft, Maersk COO.

The containerized battery system has been manufactured in Denmark by Trident Maritime Systems. It will be transported to Singapore for installation on board the Maersk Cape Town. The vessel is a Singapore-flagged 249-meter (817-foot) 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.

Battery modules will be operating within the container in conjunction with other electrical and control components. Maersk has worked with ABS, the vessel’s classification society, on the project.