Self-sailing 120-TEU feeder to replace trucks in Norway
THE world’s first fully electric and self-sailing 120-TEU containership, owned by fertiliser maker Yara, is preparing to navigate Norway’s southern coast, reports Reuters.The ship will load and offload cargo, recharge its batteries and navigate without human involvement, said Yara. The 261-foot feeder Yara Birkeland is set to replace trucks between Yara’s plant in Porsgrunn in southern Norway and its export port in Brevik 8.7 miles away by road, starting next year. For Yara it means reducing CO2 emissions at its plant in Porsgrunn, one of Norway’s single largest sources of CO2, said CEO Svein Tore Holsether. “Now we have taken this technological leap to show it is possible, and I’m thinking there are so many routes in the world where it is possible to implement the same type of ship,” he said. Built by Vard Norway, Kongsberg, provided key technology including the sensors and integration required for remote and autonomous operations. “This isn’t about replacing the sailors, it’s replacing the truck drivers,” said Yara project manager Jostein Braaten on the ship’s bridge, which will be removed when the vessel is running on full automation. The ship will load and offload its cargo, recharge its batteries and also navigate without human involvement. Sensors will be able to quickly detect and understand objects like kayaks in the water so the ship can decide what action to take to avoid hitting anything, Mr Braaten said. The system should be an improvement over having a manual system, he added. “We’ve taken away the human element, which today is also the cause of many of the accidents we see,” he said. It is powered by batteries provided by Swiss Leclanche packing seven megawatt hours over eight battery rooms, the equivalent of 100 Tesla cars, Braaten said.