World’s first fully-electric autonomous cargo vessel unveiled
The world’s first fully-electric autonomous cargo vessel (ship) has been unveiled in Norway, a step towards decreasing pollution in the maritime industry by introducing zero-emission vehicles. The self-steering container ship is owned by fertiliser manufacturer Yara, one of the world’s top 5 best fertilisers companies.
The Yara Birkeland is set to replace lorry haulage between Yara’s plant in Porsgrunn in southern Norway and its export port in Brevik, about 14 km (8.7 miles) away by the road next year.
It will eliminate the requirement of around 40,000 truck journeys per year that are full of diesel. It will cut down 1,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year which is said to be similar to the 40,000 diesel-powered journeys.
Yara, Chief Executive Svein Tore Holsether said that reducing CO2 emissions at its plant in Porsgrunn, one of Norway’s single largest sources of CO2.
“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 added.
The company has been working with maritime technology company Kongsberg for the development of the vessel since 2017. The ship was constructed by VARD and it will begin manned commercial operations from 2022. It will be operated from Massterlys’ monitoring and operations centre in Horten.
“Norway is a big ocean and maritime nation, and other nations look to Norway for green solutions at sea. Yara Birkeland is the result of the strong knowledge and experience we have in the Norwegian maritime cluster and industry. The project demonstrates how we have developed a world-leading innovation that contributes to the green transition and provides great export opportunities for Norwegian technology and industry, says Geir Håøy, CEO of the Kongsberg Group.
Renewable energy projects government enterprise Enova has allocated up to NOK 133.5 million for the project.
“On the way to a low-emission society, transport emissions must come down to almost zero. To achieve that, we need projects that can transform the market projects that have the potential to pave the way for others and increase the pace of change in their sector. This is exactly what we believe the world’s first autonomous and all-electric container ship will do, says Nils Kristian Nakstad, CEO of Enova.
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