SeaTech Studies New Use for Battery-Electric Drive - Harbor Lighters

harbor lighter
Courtesy SeaTech

Published Sep 20, 2021 1:16 AM by The Maritime Executive

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore is looking at new ways to decarbonize the small workboats that keep its busy harbor humming. Singapore is home to about 1,600 licensed diesel-powered harbor craft, like small tugs and lighter vessels, which help serve the thousands of merchant ships that call at the port every year. The MPA is sponsoring three separate projects - led by Sembcorp, Keppel and SeaTech - to explore new ways to use battery-electric power aboard these short-range working vessels. 

For its part of the project, Singapore-based naval architecture firm SeaTech has partnered with Yinson Green Technologies to design an electric lighter craft with a high degree of charging flexibility. This includes a swappable battery system and a "universal charging connection adapter" to allow the vessel to recharge at docks of opportunity. The deliverables for the project also include a digital twin, electrification concepts and charging infrastructure. 

PBES Energy Solutions will be the battery provider, and contributing partners include RINA, BSM, Jurong Port and Batam Fast Ferry.

"The members in this consortium are convinced that our harbourcraft electrification project has the potential to significantly contribute towards the goal of a carbon neutral footprint for Singapore," said Prabjot Singh Chopra, the VP of technology at SeaTech. "Through our collaborative efforts, we aim to do our part in helping our industry meet IMO’s greenhouse gas emission targets for 2030 and 2050."

MPA Singapore is financing these three initiatives using its Maritime GreenFuture Fund, and it has allocated a total of $6.6 million for all three projects. Both Keppel and Sembcorp are designing electric passenger ferries, but Keppel will be taking on an additional role in testing charging infrastructure at its new Floating Living Lab facility, to include a pilot of a "floating energy storage system."