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Danish shipping giant Maersk will install a containerized 600 kWh marine battery system on board the 4,500 TEU Maersk Cape Town in December 2019 to improve vessel performance and reliability while reducing CO2 emissions.

“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,” Søren Toft, Maersk COO, said.

The company explained that propelling marine vessels with battery power alone “is still years away from being a technically- and economically viable option.”

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, Maersk noted.

Additionally, it will support the generators with up to 1,800 kVA of power during rapid changes in electrical load such as thruster operation, which can reduce generator maintenance requirements.

“This exciting pilot – the first of its kind in the industry – will show the potential of battery technologies to keep improving the performance of our vessels while also reducing fuel consumption in our non-propulsion electrical systems,” Ole Graa, Maersk Head of Fleet Technology, said.

The containerized battery energy storage system has been manufactured in Odense, Denmark by the system integrator and turnkey supplier Trident Maritime Systems. The battery system will be shortly transported to Singapore and installed on board the Maersk Cape Town.

The Singapore-flagged vessel sails between West Africa and East Asia. Its first full voyage with the new system in place will be undertaken next year and “will be closely monitored to evaluate the performance of the system against the trial’s ambitions,” according to Maersk.
Battery modules will be operating within the container in conjunction with other electrical and control components.

“The application of battery technology and the understandings gained can enable further innovation across A.P.Moller- Maersk. We have an interest in working with suppliers to grow these possibilities as the technology matures,” the company concluded.