World’s 1st electric harbour skimmer for Oslo

Norway – with the help of Canada – continues to be a leader in the electrification of commercial boats. Now a new electric vessel to collect trash in the Port of Oslo has been commissioned from shipbuilder Grovfjord Mekaniske Verksted (GMV) – and will use batteries from Canada’s Corvus Energy.

You might not think that a boat that skims litter from the water of a harbour is a big priority for going electric, but the boat the new ship is replacing lasted for 30 years. That is a lot of 8 hour days (more than 10,000…80,000 hours) burning up diesel and spewing the exhaust into the air.

Roger Rosvold, Vice President Sales at Corvus Energy, said “Electrifying workboats in harbours has only just begun. No just in Oslo, but everywhere. For example, the Navtek ZeeTUG zero-emissions all-electric tug will take to the water this spring to operate in Istanbul harbour.” He pointed to a number of benefits that he believes will lead to a massive shift from diesel in workboats. “Battery power reduces emissions, which are increasingly regulated in many ports and harbours. Moreover, batteries are safer and quieter for the crew, and save both fuel and maintenance costs for the owners.”

Electric motors are perfectly suited for in harbour and close to shore work

Søren Balteskard, Chairman of Northern Lights Salmon, aboard all-electric aquaculture boat

GVM, which designed and built the skimmer, is also a leader in incorporating electric propulsion into various types of workboats. They worked with Danfoss Engineering on the Astrid Helene, the world’s 1st (a lot of those happening these days) electric boat built for fish farming.

Salmon Søren Balteskard, Chairman of the Northern Lights Salmon aquaculture firm, says that fully electric work boats will play a key role in that industry’s future. “Electric boats are perfect for fish farming. The lack of engine noise is not only an advantage for the crew, but also for the salmon. It actually reduces stress levels in the fish.”

One of the reason electric motors are being adopted is that they have a lot of inherent advantages over internal combustion engines for in-port use. They are easy to maneuver, go from zero to full speed extremely fast and because they are used in harbours, the concern about lack of charging possibilities and range are not a problem. Baltesakrd said ““We can use Astrid Helene for a whole workday and still have about 45 percent power left when we return to shore. Charging is easy, too. We simply plug her to the grid overnight.”

Ferries and cruise ships adding more electric motors, bigger batteries

Largest battery for a hybrid boat

To be clear, Corvus also works with the Norwegians – and ship owners around the world – on much bigger projects than workboats.

In February they signed a contract with Norwegian Electric Systems for the marine world’s largest battery package for hybrid powered vessel.

They also supply the electric systems for five new E-ferries in Norway and also in Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany. The fleet includes the MF Ampere, the world’s first (there it is again) fully battery-driven car ferry, built in 2015.

As with workboats, ferries are well suited for electric propulsion because they are on comparatively short run trips and can charge at shore between trips.

These workboats, ferries and cargo ships are leading the way in electric marine propulsion and the switch from diesel. In fact, literally as this is being written, ABB – the leading supplier of electric power and propulsion systems for the marine industry – announced that they will be providing the power package for some new 250 passenger ships being built for the luxury polar expedition market.

We’ll report on that at a later date!

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